The Best Banks to Use in Hong Kong

So you can pay like a pro.

Contents

    Hong Kong is considered one of the financial centers of the world, with a strong banking system and a business-friendly financial environment.

    They are known as the heart of the financial industry worldwide.

    Seventy of the top one hundred banks in the world have some form of operations in Hong Kong.

    Twenty-nine multinational banks have their regional headquarters in Hong Kong.

    Best Banks in Hong Kong

    1. HSBC
    2. Hang Seng Bank
    3. Bank of China (HK)
    4. Citibank (HK)
    5. Standard Chartered (HK)

    An Overview of the Banking System in Hong Kong

    In Hong Kong, there are three types of banks.

    1. Licensed Banks can operate current (checking) and savings accounts, take deposits and accept paychecks.
    2. Restricted License Banks do business in merchant banking and capital markets and can take deposits greater than HKD 500,000.
    3. Deposit Taking Companies are associated with licensed banks and are involved in consumer finance, commercial lending, and securities. They can take deposits of greater than HKD 100,000 with a maturity of three months or greater.

    There are also a large number of foreign banks in Hong Kong.

    All the banks on our list are licensed banks.

    Banks in Hong Kong are regulated and supervised to ensure banking stability, which is a factor in the overall financial stability of the country.

    1. HSBC

    HSBC is ranked 2nd on The Asian Banker strength list of Asian Pacific banks, which evaluates banks based on their balance sheet strength.

    They most recently reported net income was over HKD 96 billion, they have assets of almost HKD 8 trillion, and they employ over 68,000 people.

    HSBC has a comprehensive range of both consumer and commercial services and is a leader in business accounts in Asia.

    They were listed as the top corporate and investment bank on the Asiamoney Best Bank Award 2020 list.

    Generally, they are the preferred bank of high net-worth clients, although their minimum deposit to open a consumer account is only HKD 1.

    They serve over 60 nations worldwide with their global banking services.

    HSBC is also often the chosen bank of foreigners because of its global services.

    HSBC Fees

    Service

    HSBC account fee

    ATM usage overseas

    HK$20 - HK$40 depending on the network of the ATM

    Sending a telegraphic transfer

    • Using online banking: HK$50
    • Via branch: HK$120 - HK$240
    • Additional HK$40 fee for branch TT payments requested afternoon on any business day

    Receiving a telegraphic transfer

    HK$50 - commission of 0.25% may also be payable depending on the currency involved

    Including a message in payment details in Chinese characters

    HK$150 - waived if currency being sent is CNY

    2. Hang Seng

    Hang Seng is ranked 4th on The Asian Banker strength list of Asian Pacific banks.

    Their most recent net income was over HKD 24 billion, they have assets of over HKD 1.5 billion, and they employ over 9,600 people.

    Heng Seng Bank has a comprehensive range of services, both domestically and globally.

    Customers can open accounts in a range of foreign currencies at Heng Seng.

    They have been awarded the Outstanding Cross-border Banking Service Award by Wen Wei Po several times, and in 2015 they were named the world’s strongest bank by Bloomberg Markets Magazine.

    They currently serve over half of the population of Hong Kong.

    Hang Seng Bank Fees

    Service 

    Hang Seng’s account fees

    ATM withdrawal & balance enquiry 

    HK$20 

    Sending  telegraphic transfer

    • Using e-banking: HK$65
    • Via other channels: From HK$190 - HK$260
    • Additional charges may apply including correspondent bank fees and surcharges for branch TTs initiated after 12 noon

    Receiving telegraphic transfer

    HK$65 - HK$300 depending on the detail of the payment

    Other account service charges

    If the balance of the account falls below a minimum agreed level, and there is no activity for 2 years, then the bank will apply inactive account service charges 

    3. Bank of China (Hong Kong)

    Bank of China (Hong Kong) is ranked 1st on The Asian Banker strength list of Asian Pacific banks.

    Their last reported net income was over HKD 34 billion, and their total assets are over HKD 3 billion.

    They employ over 14,500 people.

    They are the 2nd largest commercial banking group in Hong Kong and have over 190 branches.

    BOC has a full range of commercial and consumer banking services.

    In 2017 they were awarded Bank of the Year in Hong Kong by The Banker in the UK and have also received awards for various individual services that they offer.

    They were named as the “Best Bank for CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in Hong Kong” in Asiamoney’s “2020 Best Bank Awards” for three years in a row.

    Bank of China HK Fees

    Service

    BOC HK Charge

    Sending a telegraphic transfer

    • Online: HK$65 + SWIFT charges
    • In branch: HK$210 + SWIFT charges

    Receiving a telegraphic transfer

    HK$60 for transfers of HK$500 and above - wee waived for smaller transfers

    Handling fee for message to beneficiary

    • In branch - up to 10 words or characters is free, HK$100 above that
    • Fee waived for online transfers

    SWIFT charges

    Vary by currency - for example, there is a fee of HK$160 for any TT send in USD, while transfers to the UK cost GBP20

    Enquiry, amendment, return or cancellation request

    HK$220

    4. Citibank Hong Kong

    Citibank Hong Kong is ranked 37th on The Asian Banker strength list of Asian Pacific banks.

    Their last reported net income was HKD 3 billion, and they have assets of HKD 224 billion.

    They were the first foreign bank to offer services in Hong Kong beginning in 1902, so they have a long history in the region.

    They also have a strong global brand, which is one of the reasons they were chosen for our list.

    They offer a full range of services for consumers and businesses and have a large presence in the commercial and investment banking arena in Hong Kong.

    They are often the chosen bank for ex-pats and non-residents of Hong Kong, and they are one of the largest credit card issuers in the country.

    They offer fee-free account packages, and also have private banking services.

    For two years Citibank Hong Kong was chosen as the Best Global Private Bank at the PWM/The Banker Global Private Banking Awards.

    Citibank HK Fees

    Service

    Citibank HK charges 

    Sending a telegraphic transfer

    It is only free if you do inter-institution transfers 

    Receiving a telegraphic transfer

    It is only free if you do inter-institution transfers 

    Enquiry, amendment, return or cancellation request

    HK$200

    5. Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong

    Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong is ranked 3rd on The Asian Banker strength list of Asian Pacific banks.

    Their last reported net income was HKD 9.7 billion, and they have assets of over HKD 1.1 billion.

    It is one of only three banks in the country licensed to issue banknotes.

    They were founded in 2004 and do business in over 60 countries.

    They are unusual for the region in that they offer remote account openings.

    They offer a comprehensive array of services and are a leader in the digital banking world.

    They have lower fees for some services in order to accommodate all consumers.

    Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong awards include:

    • International Retail Bank of the Year by Asian Bank and Financing
    • Digital Banking Initiative of the Year by Asian Bank and Financing
    • Best Digital Bank in Hong Kong Award by Asiamoney

    Standard Chartered Fees

    Service

    Standard Chartered HK Charge

    International ATM withdrawal

    • No surcharge for UnionPay and JETCO ATM usage
    • Up to 1.95% fee for other ATM networks

    Sending a telegraphic transfer

    HK$120 - HK$200 + minimum HK$250 for correspondent bank charges

    Non-domicile currency transfer

    HK$60 - HK$100 depending on the account type, in addition to fees listed above

    Odd currency surcharge (including South Korean won, New Taiwan dollar, and other currencies)

    HK$200

    Chinese character TT coding

    HK$150

    Amendment, cancellation or refund of telegraphic transfer

    HK$250

    6. BEA (Bank of East Asia)

    Just like any other of the bank accounts mentioned above, BEA provides 11 different currencies for USD accounts, passbook accounts in, and foreign currency deposit accounts.

    And within that, it  includes time deposits and statement savings accounts.

    The available currencies that BEA provides includes Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, euro, Japanese yen, New Zealand dollar, British pound, renminbi, Swiss franc, South African rand, Thai baht, Singapore dollar and US dollar.

    And here are some fees that you should be aware of before you register for a BEA account.

    BEA Fees

    Service 

    BEA HK’s account fee

    ATM usage overseas

    HK$15 - HK$50 depending on the ATM type

    Sending a telegraphic transfer

    • In branch: HK$150 handling fee + HK$100-130 cable charge
    • Online: HK$20 + HK$80 cable charge

    Including a message in payment details in Chinese characters

    HK$200

    Commission in lieu of exchange

    • 0.25% of the remittance amount - minimum HK$100, maximum HK$1,000
    • Waived for remittances in HKD/USD to Mainland China

    Handling fee if sender wants to pay correspondent bank charges

    Fees vary, applies to transfers using the SWIFT payment network

    Virtual Banks

    Virtual Banks are one of the newest banking fads to arrive in Hong Kong around 2020, with the first licenses being delivered to banks that are fully online, without any retail presence.

    Effectively, Banking as a Service.

    It's important to note that almost all virtual banks in Hong Kong are in reality subsidiary virtual banks to larger traditional banks, so take these new virtual banks with a grain of salt.

    Here's a full list of all major virtual banks in Hong Kong.

    Banking Alternatives for Businesses

    At Statrys we offer businesses and SMEs a virtual Business Account, while not actually being a bank.

    Not being a bank means we can offer services at a risk that traditional banks are not comfortable with.

    That means small businesses can open business accounts faster, with services that larger businesses benefit from like multi-currency accounts in 11 currencies and Foreign Exchange services, with all the neat tech-driven quality of life improvements that virtual banks provide.

    Create an account with us today and you'll get a business account with 11 major currencies concurrently in one place, all in less than 48 hours.

    FAQs

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