Hong Kong has been stand-out in terms of its financial services, and it is worth considering as the best-reputed destination for foreign investors and expats.
Due to its long list of premium banks available, some people may get a bit confused when determining which the best bank in Hong Kong is for their demand. This article will dive into top Hong Kong banks that are highly recommended for those wishing to use offshore banking in this country!
1. Why choose Hong Kong for banking services?
When it comes to opening a bank account or offshore banking services, Hong Kong is typically put on top of the choice list. Why? We think of the reputation which makes this happen.
Hong Kong has been named “the heart” of the worldwide financial industry. Not only does the country set up a pro-business environment with friendly tax schemes for entrepreneurs, but also the banking system in Hong Kong has relatively been sophisticated and stand-out among others.
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To exemplify, we have found some figures. Typically, the Asian Banker in 2019 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 (2019)
Hong Kong is characterized by its three-tier banking system. A high density of international banks from different countries also provides more opportunities for choice for people to open a bank account in Hong Kong, whether to be a resident or non-resident.
What is more, Hong Kong is well equipped with an advanced banking system. In addition to flexible banking infrastructure, English-speaking staff members in most Hong Kong banks could facilitate every communication process with non-resident applicants who are desired to set up a bank account. Note that the opening process for foreigners to open a Hong Kong bank account may require certain conditions, and such things vary from bank to bank.
A further in-depth guide to getting a bank account as non-residents can be found here: How To Open A Bank Account In Hong Kong For 2021
In what follows, we walk you through some best banks in Hong Kong that you should take into consideration!
2. Which is the best bank in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is home to the majority of the world's biggest banking operations. Below are some best banks in Hong Kong that you should consider, most of them rated according to the Asiamoney best bank awards 2020:
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.
DBS Bank is preferred by most small and medium-sized enterprises in Hong Kong. What has brought this bank into the spotlight to 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.
Remarkably, DBS Hong Kong is now among the very limited banks in Hong Kong that allow remote opening for applicants.
Particularly, when COVID-19 pandemic hit the Hong Kong economy in general and SMEs in particular, DBS Bank offered relief practices for SMEs. Prominent among measures, DBS Bank offers you a door of opportunity to open a bank account remotely during the hardship. The existence of video conferencing option in opening a bank account in Hong Kong with DBS Bank will make it easier for SMEs to access their expected bank account in a convenient manner. You can read more: DBS Hong Kong now supports remote bank account opening
One big disadvantage for those considering DBS Hong Kong maybe its high deposit. The deposit for a normal DBS account is around 200,000 HKD, meanwhile opening a corporate premium bank account in Hong Kong with this can cost you about 1 million HKD for the initial deposit. Despite its huge cost for the input, many entrepreneurs tend to opt for DBS bank to gain certain privileges of this reputed bank.
HSBC Bank in Hong Kong is among the world’s biggest institutions when it comes to banking and financial related services. HSBC Bank has its extensive ranges 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 2020. In particular, Dealogic placed HSBC Bank 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 bank account in HSBC bank is considered to be a smooth process, but may sometimes take time.
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.
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
- 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
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.
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 PrremierMiles
- 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.
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.
3. Other considerations: Are you interested in EMI accounts/wallets?
Another alternative solution for those afraid of the complicated process of opening a traditional bank account in Hong Kong (physical visit is required in most cases) and high chance of rejection is to use EMI accounts or wallet services.
Neat, Transferwire, Tap & Go, or Currenxie are common options for this new line of banking service. Benefits of using such fintech products are:
- The ability to receive and holding money
- Money transfer inside and outside Hong Kong
- Remote opening
- USD, EUR, or GBP currencies offering
- The availability of conducting e-bank inquiries, etc
Startups or SMEs with certain trading volumes are more likely to be a big fan of these e-banking solutions. Neat business account seems to be the most popular choice as it also offers users with a local bank account number. Considering a package of Hong Kong company formation with Neat business bank account would facilitate the process and save time for most startups desired of starting a business in Hong Kong. This is reasonable for us to understand why the emergence of these fintech services is more and more gaining attention.
Need more insights into EMIs? Here is a blog for you: Alternatives to traditional banks in Hong Kong
4. Keynotes on choosing your best bank in Hong Kong
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 that easy.
There are certain parameters that you should take into account to reach your desired option. Prominent of those considerations, do get a bank that will be best in fit with your demand – i.e, you prefer the bank with a lower deposit and minimum balance requirement or the world-class bank which will facilitate your business venture by providing its high-end banking products.
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.