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How To Open a Bank Account in Hong Kong: A Comprehensive Guide

  • Modified: 27 November 2023
  • 11 min read
  • Starting a Company
How To Open a Bank Account in Hong Kong: A Comprehensive Guide
  • Author Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

    Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

    Business Writer

    Gabi creates content that inspires. She's spent her career writing compelling website copy, and now she specialises in product marketing copy. As the voice of our products and features, Gabi makes complex business finance and accounting topics easy to understand. Her top priority is ensuring that her words impact and inspire her readers.

Opening a bank account in Hong Kong can be pivotal for individuals and businesses looking to establish a financial presence in one of Asia's leading financial hubs. Hong Kong offers a stable and efficient banking system, making it an attractive choice for both residents and non-residents. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the process of opening a bank account in Hong Kong, including the required documents and options available.

What Documents Are Needed To Open a Bank Account?

To open a bank account in Hong Kong, whether it's a personal or business account, you'll need to provide certain documents and meet specific requirements. The exact requirements may vary slightly from one bank to another and for different types of bank accounts, but generally, you will need the following.

Personal Bank Account

If you're an individual looking to open a personal bank account in Hong Kong, you will typically need the following documents:

  1. Valid passport: You will need a copy of your valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining. This serves as your primary identification document.
  2. Proof of address: A Hong Kong bank account will require proof of your residential address. You can provide utility bills (e.g., electricity, water, or gas), bank statements, or rental agreements in your name confirming your address. Opening a bank account online may also accept other official documents as proof of address, depending on the kind of Hong Kong bank account.
  3. Proof of income: Depending on the bank's policies, you may be asked to provide proof of your source of income. This can include recent payslips, employment contracts, or other documents demonstrating a stable source of income.
What documents are needed to open a bank account?

Company Bank Account

If you want to open a bank account for your company in Hong Kong, you'll need a set of business-related documents and some of the personal documents mentioned above. The specific requirements can vary depending on the type and structure of your company, but here are the common documents needed:

Certificate of Incorporation: A copy of your company's Certificate of Incorporation issued by the Hong Kong Companies Registry. This document proves that your company is legally registered in Hong Kong.

Business Registration Certificate: A Business Registration Certificate from the Inland Revenue Department confirms that your business is registered for tax purposes in Hong Kong and is important when opening a bank account online.

Memorandum and Articles of Association: These legal documents govern your company's operations and are typically required by banks.

Board Resolution: This is a resolution passed by the board of directors authorising the opening of the bank account and specifying authorised signatories. This document outlines who has the authority to operate the account on behalf of the company.

Proof of Address: Similar to personal accounts, you may need to provide documents confirming the business address, such as utility bills or rental agreements.

Requirements for Non-residents

If you are a non-resident of Hong Kong (i.e., you do not reside in Hong Kong), additional requirements may apply:

  1. Valid visa: You will need a copy of your valid visa or entry permit for Hong Kong. This is especially important for non-residents who wish to open a bank account in Hong Kong.
  2. Business plan: Some banks may require non-residents to provide a detailed business plan outlining your company's activities and the purpose of opening a bank account in Hong Kong, including whether you will be trading in foreign currencies so that the right bank account can be suggested to you.

You may require a multi-currency account, an account with wealth management features, or one with a low account maintenance fee — whatever it is, it's best to outsource a company that can help with opening a bank account and can make the best suggestions for local banks based on your needs as a business owner.

It's important to note that the specific documentation requirements can vary between banks and may be subject to change over time. Therefore, it's advisable to check with the bank you intend to open an account with to ensure you have the most up-to-date information on their online account opening requirements.

How To Open a Bank Account Online

Many banks in Hong Kong offer online services, which can be convenient. To open an account online, you will generally need to:

  1. Visit the bank's website and fill out the online application form.
  2. Upload scanned copies of the required documents.
  3. Complete identity verification through video call or other methods.
  4. Wait for approval, after which you will receive your account details.

It can be a time-saving option, especially for non-residents.

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Step-by-Step Process for Opening a Bank Account in Hong Kong

Opening a bank account in Hong Kong involves a series of steps and documentation, whether you're opening a personal or business account. Here's a general process to open a bank account online in Hong Kong.

1 Choose a bank

The first step is to choose a bank that suits your everyday banking needs. Hong Kong is home to some of the best banks, both locally and internationally. Consider factors such as account types, fees, services, and accessibility when choosing. Selecting a bank will depend entirely on your needs — an HSBC One account, for example, is fantastic for businesses trading in multiple currencies, including Hong Kong dollars, but this might not apply to a business simply looking for a debit card.

2 Gather required documents

The specific documents required may vary slightly from one bank to another and on whether you're a permanent resident or not, but you'll generally need the following to open a new account online or in person:

  • Your official identity document, such as a passport or a HK ID card;
  • Proof of address (a utility bill, a bank statement or a mobile phone bill will do if they are less than three months old). In case you can’t provide a Hong Kong address, give proof of your residence in your home country
  • A valid visa
  • Employment confirmation or a contract (in case you work in Hong Kong)

3 Visit the bank

Visit the chosen bank's branch in person, as most banks require physical presence to open a bank account. Making an appointment in advance is advisable to ensure a smooth process. However, many banks allow you to open an account online for your convenience — visiting a branch in person will depend on how complex your needs are, and the processing time will depend on this, too.

4 Complete application forms

The bank will provide you with the necessary application forms. Fill out these forms accurately and completely. Be prepared to provide personal information and details about your source of funds or income as part of the application process.

5 Submit documents

Submit the required documents along with your application forms. Make sure all documents are clear and in order. If you're opening a business account, ensure that all company documents are in order and certified.

Process for opening a bank account in Hong Kong

6 Identity verification

Most banks in Hong Kong require identity verification as part of their Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures. You may be asked to provide additional identification, such as a Hong Kong Identity Card or other acceptable forms of ID.

7 Interview or meeting

Depending on the bank's policies, you may have an interview or meeting with a bank representative to discuss your account requirements and answer any questions.

8 Initial deposit

Make the initial deposit into your new account. The amount required as an initial deposit can vary between banks and account types. Check with your chosen bank for the specific amount.

9 Wait for account approval

Once you've submitted all required documents and completed the necessary steps, the bank will review your application. Depending on the bank's internal procedures, the approval process can take a few days to a couple of weeks.

10 Receive account details

Upon approval, you will receive your details, including your account number and any other relevant information.

11 Activate and start using your account

Visit the bank or use mobile banking services to activate the company's account and conduct business transactions.

How Much Does It Cost To Open a Bank Account in Hong Kong?

Visit the bank or use online services to activate your account and manage your finances.

It's important to note that the specific procedures and requirements may vary between banks and can change over time. Therefore, contacting the bank you intend to open an account with for the most up-to-date information and guidance on the opening process is essential.

The cost to open a bank account online in Hong Kong can vary depending on several factors, including the type of account you are opening (personal or business), the bank you choose, and the specific services and features you require. Here are some cost considerations to open a bank account in Hong Kong.

How much does it cost to open a bank account in Hong Kong?

Personal bank account

  1. Account maintenance fees: Many banks in Hong Kong offer basic personal savings or current accounts with no monthly maintenance fees. However, some premium or specialised accounts may have maintenance fees and minimum balance requirements.
  2. Minimum deposit: Some banks may require an initial deposit to open a personal bank account. The minimum deposit amount can vary, so check with the specific bank for their requirements.
  3. Transaction fees: Personal accounts may have transaction fees for certain activities, such as wire transfers, foreign currency exchanges, and ATM withdrawals at non-affiliated ATMs.
  4. Debit or credit card fees: If you request a debit or credit card associated with your account, there may be annual fees or issuance fees for these cards.

Business bank account

  1. Account maintenance fees: Business bank accounts in Hong Kong often have monthly maintenance fees, which can vary based on the type of account and the bank you choose. Some banks offer fee waivers for the first few months.
  2. Initial deposit: Similar to personal accounts, business accounts may require an initial deposit, and the minimum deposit amount can vary.
  3. Transaction fees: Business accounts typically have transaction fees for activities like wire transfers, foreign currency transactions, and electronic fund transfers.
  4. Checks and chequebooks: If your business requires checks or chequebooks, fees may be associated with ordering and using them.
  5. Additional services: The cost of additional services, such as business loans, trade finance, and merchant services, can vary based on your specific needs and the bank's pricing structure.
  6. Business registration and compliance costs: When opening a business bank account, you'll need to provide certain company documents, and there may be costs associated with obtaining and maintaining these documents, such as the Business Registration Certificate.
  7. Corporate debit or credit cards: If your business needs corporate debit or credit cards, there may be fees for card issuance and annual maintenance.

It's essential to thoroughly review the fee schedules and terms and conditions of the bank you choose to understand the costs associated with your account. Additionally, consider comparing the offerings of different banks in Hong Kong to find the one that best suits your financial needs and budget.

Remember that some Hong Kong banks may offer promotional offers, fee waivers for a certain period, or discounts on specific services, so it's worth exploring these options to potentially reduce your initial and ongoing banking costs.

Which Bank Should I Choose to Open a Bank Account?

Osome is partnered with the most popular banks in Hong Kong that specialise in supporting SMEs and ecommerce businesses. We also provide exclusive discounts and benefit programmes for our customers.

Factors to consider when choosing a bank in Hong Kong:

  • Account types: Consider the types of accounts the bank offers and whether they meet your specific needs, whether you need a personal, business, or multi-currency account.
  • Fees and charges: Compare account fees, transaction charges, and other related costs. Ensure the bank's fee structure aligns with your usage patterns.
  • Services: Look at the range of services the bank provides, such as online banking, mobile apps, investment options, and customer support.
  • Accessibility: Consider the accessibility of the bank's branches and ATMs, especially if you prefer in-person services.
  • International services: If you require international services or access to global markets, choose a bank with a strong international presence.
  • Digital banking: Evaluate the bank's digital banking capabilities, including online banking platforms, mobile apps, and digital options.
  • Customer support: Assess the bank's customer support and responsiveness to inquiries and issues.
  • Account requirements: Check the bank's specific requirements for opening an account, including minimum deposit amounts and documentation.

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We guide you through incorporation, advise you on a better setup and assist with licences if needed. We also offer our support beyond company registration as part of our subscription services.

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ABC Banking Corporation

ABC Banking Corporation provides a valuable and pleasing banking experience for your business in Hong Kong and personal needs. It is the only traditional bank that allows for remote account opening.

Citibank

Citibank ranks as the no. 1 bank for customer experience and provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products, services, and other accounts tailored to your needs.

Transwap

TranSwap accounts give users access to named local Hong Kong dollars, EUR, GBP and SWIFT accounts in 34 markets without any set-up or maintenance fees.

Currenxie

With a multi-currency Global Account, businesses have bank account numbers in every major market, so payments are fast and convenient.

Airwallex

Open your business account on Hong Kong with no sign-up fee and zero monthly account fees. Seamless integration with ecommerce platforms like Amazon, Shopify, etc.

DBS

DBS delivers a new kind of banking that is simple and seamless so that customers have more time to spend on the people or things they care about.

HSBC HK

HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations in Hong Kong serving more than 40 million customers throughout global business areas. It has its own HSBC HK app with full access to all the services.

Summary

From a bank statement delivered consistently on time to being able to effortlessly send money back to your home country, the right account will depend on what your needs are, both personal and professional. It's best to keep ease of service, application processing time, and overall customer experience at the front of mind when choosing as well as a bank that offers account types that will work for your business operations. To save you heaps of time and stress, consider outsourcing a service that can fast-track you with the best banks in Hong Kong.

Author Gabi Bellairs-Lombard
Gabi Bellairs-LombardBusiness Writer

Gabi creates content that inspires. She's spent her career writing compelling website copy, and now she specialises in product marketing copy. As the voice of our products and features, Gabi makes complex business finance and accounting topics easy to understand. Her top priority is ensuring that her words impact and inspire her readers.

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FAQ

  • What do you mean by bank account?

    A bank account is a financial account provided by a bank or financial institution that allows individuals, businesses, or organisations to deposit, store, withdraw, and manage their money. Bank accounts come in various types, including personal savings accounts, checking accounts, business accounts, and more, each designed to serve specific financial needs.

  • How do I open a bank account in HK?

    To open a bank account in Hong Kong, you typically need to choose a bank, gather required documents (such as a valid passport, proof of address such as a mobile phone bill, visa documents, and others), visit the bank in person, complete an application form, submit the necessary documents, undergo identity verification, and await approval. The specific process can vary depending on the bank and the type of account you're opening.

  • What is my bank account?

    Your bank account refers to your specific financial account with a bank or financial institution. It is a unique account associated with your name and may have various features and purposes, such as personal savings, cheque, business, or investment accounts.

  • What is a bank account for a person?

    A bank account for a person, also known as a personal bank account, is an account held by an individual for their personal financial transactions. It can be used for depositing income, making payments, saving money, and conducting various financial activities.

  • Which bank account opens easily?

    The ease of opening a bank account can vary depending on the bank's policies and the type of account you're interested in. Basic personal savings or cheque accounts are often relatively easy to open. Some online banks and fintech companies may offer simplified account opening processes.

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