Opening a bank account in Hong Kong is simple and straight-forward. In order to open an account, you will have to visit a branch of your chosen bank in person. You do not usually have to make an appointment and can simply walk in during normal banking hours.
To initiate the process you will be required to bring some form of photographic identification with you. This can be your passport or Hong Kong ID card. Although you do not need to be a Hong Kong resident to open a bank account, you will generally need to provide proof of address, which is usually in the form of an electricity bill or phone bill.
For those who have recently arrived in Hong Kong and have yet to establish a permanent address, the bank will confirm your location by sending an official correspondence to the address you provide, and you will be required to produce this at a later date to continue with your application for a bank account.
Some banks may also require proof that you have the right to live or work in Hong Kong. In such cases, an employment contract, letter of sponsorship or letter from an educational provider will be required.
It is usually worthwhile to check the documentation requirements of the bank you wish to join before visiting in person to make an application. A contact list for major local and international banks in Hong Kong can be found on the “Main Banks” page.
The majority of bank staff in Hong Kong speak English, but you may prefer to visit branches in central or business districts such as Admiralty, Central and Tsim Sha Tsui to open your account, as they tend to be more familiar in dealing with expatriates and foreigners.
Although there are no expat specific bank accounts in Hong Kong, most banks provide a selection of different account services and tiers. These include savings, current and multi-currency accounts. Savings accounts can be in USD, RMB or in HKD. Many banks also allow customers to link savings, checking (current account), multi-currency, credit card and debit card services to a master account. In most circumstances, customers can avoid bank service charges if a specified minimum deposit is maintained in any one of these accounts.
Many banks in Hong Kong also offer premium or premier accounts for people who deposit a minimum amount of money in their bank account. This is usually in the region of HK$1 million, and allows customer priority services such as access to investment advice and rewards programs.
Special Banking Services for Indian Expatriates
Expats from the Indian subcontinent are commonly known as NRIs or Non Resident Indians. Many Indian banks which have outposts in Hong Kong offer a whole host of banking, insurance and investment services which are specifically targeted at these overseas Indians who live and work in Hong Kong. The details of the scope of services offered can be obtained by following the links mentioned below:
HSBC NRI Services
ICICI Bank NRI Services
Axis Bank NRI Services
HDFC Bank NRI Services
Aside from these NRI services provided by Indian banks many international banks in Hong Kong also offer services and accounts specially targeted at expatiates like HSBC’s International Banking Service (http://www.offshore.hsbc.com/1/2/international/offshore-banking) and Lloyd TSB’s offshore banking package (http://www.lloydstsb-asia.com) that includes multi-currency accounts, international mortgages, investments and more.