Being stand-out for financial services, Hong Kong is considered as a credible place to open a business account for foreign investors and ex-pats. The fact that this country has a long list of reputable banks will make you confused.
This article will tell you Top 4 Hong Kong Banks that are highly recommended for those wishing to use offshore banking.
1. Why Hong Kong banking services
Hong Kong has been named “the heart” of the worldwide financial industry with long-established banks. Its banking system represents sophisticated and stand-out features that is magnetizing international businesses.
To exemplify, the Asian Banker in 2020 placed Hong Kong the first rank with respect to the strongest bank evaluated upon the balance sheet. Remarkably, six out of the ten first banks on the list were Hong Kong banks.
Top 10 strongest banks in terms of balance sheet assessment – source: The Asia Banker (2020)
Hong Kong is characterized by its three-tier banking system including licensed banks, restricted banks and deposit-taking companies. And the extensive network of domestic and international banks provides you multiple options for consideration, whether to be a resident or non-resident.
Not to mention that you won’t have trouble communicating with local banks as a foreigner because they have English-speaking staff members.
Note that the requirement of bank account opening will vary from bank to bank and depend on your citizen and residency status. Get yourself prepared carefully before the account registration.
In what follows, we walk you through some best banks in Hong Kong that you should take into account!
2. Top 4 Hong Kong banks
Hong Kong is home to the majority of the world’s biggest banking operations. Below are top 4 banks in Hong Kong that you can’t miss, three of them are rated by the Asiamoney as best bank awards 2021:
DBS Bank – flexible services for SMEs during Covid-19
DBS Bank is headquartered in Singapore and has its presence spreading in 18 countries on a worldwide basis. You may find out the prestige of DBS Bank through a list of its awards “World’s Best Bank” by Euromoney, “Best Bank in the World” by Global Finance, and so forth.
It is also considered as the best bank for Corporate social responsibility (CSR) for its dedication towards promoting sustainable and scalable growth for social enterprises.
DBS Bank is preferred by most small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong. What has brought this bank into the spotlight for most SME applicants?
Below are some typical examples of what they have offered:
- Launching DBS BusinessClass to Hong Kong SMEs and startups
- Online models for SME academy series
- Loan application schemes
- Credit checks for financing requirements in urgent cases, etc.
DBS Hong Kong is among the very limited banks in Hong Kong that allow a remote opening for applicants during Covid-19. Particularly, DBS Bank offered relief practices for SMEs during the pandemic. You can open the account from your home. Still, the policy may be changed, depending on the time you apply.
One big disadvantage for those considering DBS Hong Kong may be its high initial deposit. The deposit for a normal DBS account is around 200,000 HKD, meanwhile opening a corporate premium bank account with DBS bank can cost you from HKD 20,000 to HKD 1 million. Despite its huge cost for the input, many entrepreneurs tend to opt for DBS bank to gain certain privileges of this reputed bank.
HSBC – the largest domestic bank in Hong Kong
HSBC Bank is among the world’s biggest financial institutions and rated as the best Hong Kong domestic bank. It has an extensive range of services that cover Commercial Banking, Wealth and Personal banking, as well as Global Banking in more than 60 nations and regions worldwide.
HSBC is listed as the best corporate and investment bank, reported by Asiamoney Best Bank Award 2021. Dealogic placed HSBC in the fifth rank, constituting 7.3% market share under the perspective of the global collaborator of equity capital markets transactions in Hong Kong.
What can be the pros and cons of banking with HSBC?
- HSBC bank’s reputation is well attached to its high-end banking services and facilities.
- This bank is widely chosen by high-net-worth individuals and investors
- Opening a bank account in HSBC bank is considered to be a smooth process, but may sometimes take time.
Interestingly, if you are looking for the best savings bank account in Hong Kong, HSBC bank is a worth considering option as well. Below are several reasons why foreign applicants should choose HSBC for its saving account:
- It is a multinational bank with an extensive network of branches and ATMs worldwide
- The minimum deposit for checking or savings accounts is only $1
- No need for a monthly checking account fee if you can assure the minimum balance of $1,500
- Cash bonuses are available to new customers
- No ATM withdrawal fees, but its cons are high maintenance fee
One typical drawback is that HSBC bank offers debit cards limited in USD and GBP. Giving a card presence in EUR currency is not its strength, at the moment. Furthermore, the initial deposit for opening a corporate bank account with HSBC bank is around HKD 50,000, higher than that of many other banks in Hong Kong. The minimum opening balance for an HSBC bank account often falls at 500,000 HKD, quite a similar amount to that of Citibank.
Citibank – best international bank
Citibank Hong Kong is a part of Citigroup with a wide range of services focusing on markets, banking, global consumer products, and wealth management services. Remarkably, Citibank is among the biggest issuers of credit cards in Hong Kong. It is the best international bank for corporate and investment services.
Citi was named “Best Global Private Bank” at the PWM/The Banker Global Private Banking Awards 2019, highlighting its second year on the top list.
Below are some highlights of Citibank that you can consider:
- Citibank has remained as Hong Kong premium bank for corporations and families
- This is a common choice for expats and non-residents
- Good credit card offering makes the bank stand out, for example, PremierMiles
- No monthly fee, no annual fee, no ATM fee for certain account packages
Citibank focuses on commercial and investment banking. Several investment options come in the form of bonds, insurance products, stock trading, and so forth.
Citibank is also a top private bank in Hong Kong – i.e., Citi Private Bank, a specially designed construct for ultra-high-net-worth entrepreneurs and high-level corporate executives only.
The minimum opening balance for a bank account with Citibank is normally equivalent to that of HSBC. However, cash rebates can be ranging from HK$1,700 to HK$22,000, depending on your account choice.
Standard Chartered – best digital bank
Are you a big fan of digital banking products and services? Then, do not miss out to put Standard Chartered Hong Kong into your consideration list.
Established its presence in Hong Kong in 2004, Standard Chartered has expanded its business in over 60 markets worldwide. Along with HSBC and Bank of China HK, Standard Chartered is the third note-issuing bank in Hong Kong.
What has made Standard Chartered attractive during the 2019 hard time is its initiative for allowing customers to open bank accounts remotely, and to withdraw cash with QR code application.
Standard Chartered premium account is highly recommended for those in need. The minimum opening balance for the bank account with Standard Chartered is around HK$200,000. Some of the basic fees have also been removed to facilitate most of its services to customers.
See your chance of getting your desired business bank account with easy steps! List of recommended banking options Successful rate assessment on your choice list
See your chance of getting your desired business bank account with easy steps!
List of recommended banking options
Successful rate assessment on your choice list
3. EMIs – Alternatives to traditional banks
As a non-resident, you may not want to open a bank account due to complicated process and the eligibility to meet physical presence criteria. An alternative solution is to use EMI/MSO accounts or wallet services.
Neat, Wise, and Airwallex are common options for this new line of banking service. Benefits of using such fintech products are:
- The ability to receive and hold money
- Money transfer inside and outside Hong Kong
- Remote opening
- USD, EUR, or GBP currencies offering
- The availability of conducting e-bank inquiries
Need more insights into EMIs? Here is a blog for you: Alternatives to traditional banks in Hong Kong
Startups or SMEs with certain trading volumes are more likely to be a big fan of these e-banking solutions. A Neat account seems to be the most popular choice as it also offers users a local bank account number. It also facilitates the process and saves time for most startups desired of starting a business in Hong Kong. This is reasonable to understand why the emergence of these fintech services is more and more gaining attention.
Neat offers a welcome gift of 500 HKD for BCCIncorp’s clients registering a Neat account. Learn more: Hong Kong company formation with Neat account !
4. The bottom line
Above are some recommended options for you to consider when choosing the best bank in Hong Kong. However, determining the ideal bank in Hong Kong maybe not be that easy.
There are certain parameters that you should take into account to reach your desired option. In whatever case, it’s best to wage all your options against actual business needs and decide from there.
If you’re running a small operation then it’s typically best to go with banks that offer low deposits and minimum balance requirements. But this should not mean going with options that are restrictive in terms of flexibility as you will eventually have to account for future expansion.
Note that Hong Kong and Singapore are the two largest financial hubs in the Asia region. Deposits for opening a bank account in these locations are typically as high as the reputation of their banks.
Understanding the due diligence requirement from your bank of choice is also crucial. While opening a business bank account in Hong Kong would require you to submit further certified copies of the company papers, the process for opening a personal account is less complicated. Requirements for opening a bank account in Hong Kong may vary from bank to bank. You, therefore, should have a thorough examination of your bank’s required documents before applying.
In addition to big traditional banks in Hong Kong, the presence of certain e-banking services like Neat these days can give more chances for your bank account opening. Note, however, that choosing the right supporter is very important as well.
Need to open a bank account in Hong Kong? The process will become much easier if you find a trusted service provider like BBCIncorp, instead of proceeding with things on your own.
While BBCIncorp strives to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, the information itself is for reference purposes only. BBCIncorp would like to inform readers that we make no representation or warranty, express or implied. Feel free to contact BCCIncorp’s customer services for advice on specific cases.
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