Setting up an Expat bank account in Hong Kong

Tiffany Jansen
Posted: September 4th, 2013
Hong Kong ChinaHong Kong China

There are a number of logistical things you need to take care of before you settle in and start enjoying the sights and sounds of Hong Kong. Setting up a bank account should be at the top of your list.
Here we've rounded up all the information you need to set up a bank account in Hong Kong.

Money Matters
The national currency of Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD). Hong Kong's paper money is broken down into 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 notes.
ATMs are found virtually everywhere. Some banks have special arrangements so customers can use the ATMs of any of the banks involved without being charged a transaction fee.
VISA, Mastercard, and AMEX are widely accepted and frequently used.

Banks in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is among the world's major financial hubs. It's the home of more than 200 international and local banks including the Bank of China, HSBC, Hang Seng, Bank of America, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, DBS, and Standard Chartered.
Typical banking hours in Hong Kong are Monday to Friday from 9 to 5 and from 9 to 12:30 on Saturdays. Some branches may have slightly different opening and closing times. Banks are closed on Sundays and national holidays.
Standard services include savings and checking accounts, foreign currency accounts and currency exchange, debit and credit cards, money transfers, internet banking, time deposit accounts, and standing orders as well as various insurance and investment services.

What You'll Need

To open an account in Hong Kong, you will need to provide an opening balance. This is typically 1,000 HKD. Though the sum may vary from bank to bank or depending on what type of account you wish to open.
You will also need to provide proof of address, which can be in the form of a utility bill, rental lease, or official government correspondence.
Identification such as a passport is also necessary. It may be wise to bring along your driverís license or a Hong Kong Identity Card as some banks will want to see additional identification.
If you are a U.S. citizen, you will also be required to provide your Social Security Number.
Some other things you may want to bring along as back-up are:

- a work permit
- a residence permit
- an employment contract
- a current pay slip
- a sponsorship letter and/or note from employer

Good to Know

  • Larger branches in locations like Central, Tsim Sha Tsui, Wan Chai, and Causeway Bay tend to have the most experience with foreign customers.

    It is not uncommon for bank employees to be unfamiliar with the bank's regulations and may not be fully up-to-date on the documents you are required to provide to open an account with them.

    If you already have an account with a bank represented in Hong Kong, you are still required to open a local account with the bank.

    You do not have to be a resident to open a bank account in Hong Kong. All you need is appropriate identification and a home address. The bank will send a letter to the address provided, which you will be required to present to the bank upon opening your account.

    Not all international banks offer private banking services.
    It's always important to do your own research before starting an account. Shop around until you find a bank with services that will best suit your needs during your time in Hong Kong.
Stanley Town in Hong KongStanley Town in Hong Kong