Our pick: TransferWise
When you need to send money, benefit from competitive mid-market exchange rates and straightforward fees with TransferWise.
- Fair service fees and mid-market rates — a major market differentiator.
- Next-day delivery to your loved ones and businesses.
- Trusted the world over, with five-star ratings on Trustpilot.
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How do international money transfers work?
An international money transfer allows you to send money to a recipient overseas. Generally, a transfer involves you providing funds to a bank or an independent transfer provider, which then sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, Hong Kong. This can be done in person, over the phone, through a mobile app or online. You can use cash, a credit or debit card, or transfer funds from your bank account, which will then either be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, or made available as cash for them to pick up at a location in their country.Back to top
Banks versus money transfer companies/services
The first place many people go when they need to send an international money transfer is to their bank. While banks can certainly send money overseas for you, their fees are often higher compared to companies that specialize in international money transfers.
Instead of sending funds through your bank, why not consider the services of a money transfer company? These providers, such as OFX, offer fast, easy and affordable transfers across international borders. With lower fees and better exchange rates than banks, they can ensure that you get a better deal from a financial point of view.Back to top
Case study: Leon sends money to Hong Kong
Leon’s younger brother Kevin is traveling through Hong Kong when, much to his dismay, he runs out of money. Rather than ask his parents for another loan, Kevin asks his brother to send him $1,000 to help him book a flight home. Leon thinks about sending the money through his bank, but when he sees that it is offering a less-than-impressive exchange rate, he decides to see whether he’d be better off using an online money transfer company. The results of his comparison are shown below:
|Bank||Money transfer company|
|Exchange rate||$1 USD = $5.39 HKD||$1 USD = $5.72 HKD|
|Transfer method||Bank account deposit||Bank account deposit|
|Processing time||2 business days||2 business days|
|Amount received (in Hong Kong dollars)||5,390 HKD||5,720 HKD|
As you can see, in addition to a significant savings on the transfer fee, Leon can send an extra 330 HKD to his brother by using the online money transfer provider.Back to top
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Hong Kong
- Exchange rates. Check to see which company offers the best exchange rate, but remember that companies with higher exchange rates may also charge higher transfer fees.
- Fees. Make sure you’re aware of all the fees that you will incur with different providers when you send money to Hong Kong.
- Transfer methods. While some companies are online only, others will also allow you to place transfers from your smartphone, over the telephone or by visiting a branch.
- Transfer options. Check to see if you can place limit orders, lock in a good exchange rate with a forward contract or enjoy the convenience of setting up a regular payment.
- Turnaround time. Will your funds be available to your recipient in minutes, or will they need to wait for two or more days for the transaction to be processed?
- Minimum amount. Check to see whether each company imposes a minimum transfer limit, as this can be restricting if you only need to transfer small sums of cash.
- Pickup methods. While some companies only offer bank account transfers, others offer cash pickup from an agent location, mobile wallet transfers and even home delivery.
- Customer service. If anything goes wrong with a transaction, will phone, email and live chat support be available? During which hours?
Foreign exchange rates explainedThe exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it will yield more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. Hong Kong’s exchange rate is flexible, which means it can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Currency exchange rate for Hong Kong
How to send money to Hong Kong from the U.S.
- Bank transfers. Many U.S. banks will allow you to send Hong Kong dollars from your U.S. account to your recipient’s Hong Kong bank account.
- Online money transfer providers. A range of specialist online providers offer a cheaper transfer method than the big banks.
- Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Consider sending funds through Western Union or MoneyGram so that your recipient can pick up cash from an agent location.
- Checks. International guaranteed checks are a secure way to send money overseas.
Steps to send money to Hong Kong
- Choose a provider who sends money to Hong Kong.
- Register with the provider and supply your address, contact details, date of birth and proof of ID.
- Provide your recipient’s name, address and contact details. Depending on the transfer method you may also have to supply their bank account information.
- Enter the amount you want to send, complete your transaction and save your tracking or receipt number to follow up on the progress of your transfer.
Emergency cash transfers in Hong Kong
If you need to transfer money to Hong Kong urgently, you may be charged a higher fee and have to settle for a lower exchange rate. Sometimes this sacrifice is necessary when you need to send an emergency cash transfer, but just make sure to carefully review all the details of a transaction before you commit to it.Back to top
Tips for picking up cash in Hong Kong
- Take a friend along to deter thieves.
- Keep your cash hidden and don’t promote your wealth.
- Avoid any high-crime areas.
- Keep an eye on your wallet/bag at all times.
- Deposit the funds into your bank account as soon as possible.