Steps to Bank Account Opening in Hong Kong

Guide to Bank Account Opening in Hong KongOpening a corporate bank account is another important thing you should do when starting a business in Hong Kong, as it is crucial to keep your business’s record in check and build credibility of your business. As of now, there are several different banks in Hong Kong available for open bank account in Hong Kong, both local and foreign banks, offer the services of corporate account that features excellent cash management facilities, internet banking, trade financing as well as short term and long term business loans. As a metropolitan with vibrant business climate, Hong Kong has a simple and straightforward corporate bank account opening procedure. That said, before you head to open a corporate account with any bank in Hong Kong, it is important if you understand your banking needs as well as what are the requirements for corporate bank account opening. This article will help you to understand the ins and outs when opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong.

 

The Advantages of Opening a Hong Kong Corporate Bank Account

First thing first before open bank account in Hong Kong, let us have a look at what are the advantages of having a corporate bank account in Hong Kong:

1. Tax-free Interest:

Interest that is earned in the bank account opened in Hong Kong is not taxable. This is actually a major advantage of having a corporate bank account.

2. Less Minimum Bank Account Balance:

Hong Kong banks do have the rule of keeping a minimum balance in the account. However, the minimum balance can be as low as HK$10,000 together with a HK$100 monthly fee.

3. Free and Convenient Capital Transfer:

There is no foreign exchange control on the trade in Hong Kong. Therefore, international capital transfer is free and easy in Hong Kong. In other words, you can transfer dividend or profit to your home country without any restriction.

4. Easy Access to Bank Account:

Technology has made the daily banking transaction an easy task. You will have the luxury of accessing your banking account in a few clicks in Hong Kong, like checking your account history, business transactions, and bank statements instantly.

5. Excellent Banking System:

Hong Kong is reputed for having sound regulations of the banking industry. Not only the banks are highly compliance with the banking regulations, they are also committed to ensuring high standard of confidentiality of customers’ data.

 

Corporate Account Opening Requirements in Hong Kong

1. Preparation Before Account Opening

a. Engage a professional firm

This step is to ensure that you have the necessary professional assistance (that understand the ins and outs of account opening in Hong Kong) to minimise the risk of forgetting certain important documents or missing out some important steps. The professional firm will help you to gather all the necessary documents and save the hassles of administrative works. Furthermore, they usually can provide useful advice and guidance on which bank should you choose based on your banking needs.

b. Get to know the process well

Not every bank in Hong Kong has the same account opening process but it varies from bank to bank. Hence, it is important to know the process of account opening and the documents required.

c. Be sure you have these important documents with you (on the day you visit the bank)

  • Documents to prove your business existence and registration
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof that shows your business activity (you could either include your banking history or your business plan)
  • Certified or translated copy of the documents that are not in English.
  • Proof of the beneficiary owners or the final shareholders

d. Make appointment with the bank before your visit

2. Documents Required to Open a Corporate Bank Account in Hong Kong

a. A duly completed bank account opening form

Please note that all details on the form must be accurate together with the signature from the authorized signatories (as per the Board resolution).

b. Proof of identity

  • A copy of the Hong Kong identity card or passport
  • A valid visa (if applicable)
  • Residential proof (e.g. utility bills, bank statements, driving license and so on) that should be less than 2-month old
  • Former name or alias proof (if any) for each of the directors, authorized signatories, principal shareholders, and beneficial owners (of corporate shareholders).

c. A certified true copy* of:

  • the Certificate of Incorporation as issued by the Companies Registry.
  • the company’s Articles of Association
  • the company’s Business Registration Certificate as issued by the Inland Revenue Department.

d. An extract of the board resolution that approves the opening of a corporate bank account in Hong Kong.

e. A properly written director declaration that provides the personal details of directors and principal shareholders (a principal shareholder refers to a person with 10% or more holdings).

f. Proof of business

  • A detailed business plan or audited financial statements.
  • Sales/purchases contract
  • Bank reference letter in your Country
  • Rental contract /employee employment contract (if applicable)
  • Must submit together with the list of individual signatures of each authorized signatory as valid proof.

g. For corporate shareholders of the company

  • Must present a certified true copy* of an organization chart that showcases the percentage of shareholdings of each individual and the ultimate beneficial owners of the company.

h. For ultimate beneficial owners

  • Particulars of ultimate beneficial owners for nominee shareholders of a company
  • For ultimate beneficiaries who are trusts – Must submit a certified true copy* of the trust deed or declaration of trust with particulars of the trustees, settlers and beneficiaries.

* The certified true copy must be endorsed by a certified public accountant, company secretary, lawyer, or banker. 3E Accounting will help you with to get your documents certified by qualified person. We can only provide documents certification services only if the bearers are present in our office and the original documents are produced. Extra charges will apply.

3. Other Requirements

  • Initial minimum deposit – In Hong Kong, most banks require an initial minimum deposit bank account opening.
  • Certificate of Incumbency and Certificate of Good Standing – For offshore companies that are opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong, they need to submit a Certificate of Incumbency and Certificate of Good Standing on top of the normal documents.
  • Principle director(s) and shareholder(s) – majority of Board of Director(s) (all director(s) physically present in Hong Kong is highly recommended) has/have to be physically present in Hong Kong for the bank account opening.
  • Beneficial Owner(s) – the shareholder(s) / beneficial owner(s) who owning more than 10% of the company (all shareholders / beneficial owner(s) physically present in Hong Kong is highly recommended) has/have to be physically present in Hong Kong at the time account opening.

Depending on the amount of investigation that a bank carries out to confirm the identity and/or creditworthiness of the directors, secretary and the company itself, it may take between few weeks and two months to open a new company bank account. The processing time can be longer for opening corporate bank account without physically presence in Hong Kong.

Lastly, we highly recommend that you be present in Hong Kong to complete the corporate bank account opening process to avoid any delay. A bank always reserves the right to request that the beneficial owner be physically present prior to the approval of a bank account opening application.

4. For non-resident

Non-resident can open account in Hong Kong, even if he or she is a tourist. The process is particularly simple for European Union, Australian, and American passport holders – he or she can open an account almost immediately. For individual from other nation, the application process can take up to 2 weeks.

 

A Simple Comparison of Corporate Bank Account Features by Major Hong Kong Banks

OCBC Wing Hang Bank

  1. Initial deposit:
    • For HK$ current account (Multi Currency Account): HK$50,000.
  2. Average monthly balance:
    • For HK$ current account (Multi Currency Account): HK$100,000.
    • Monthly fee payable in the absence of average monthly balance: HK$500
  3. Account setup fee: HK$1,350
  4. Banking services/facilities:
    • ATM card
    • Chequebook
    • Visa Debit card
    • Internet banking
    • Business insurance
    • Business loans
    • Trade finance

 

HSBC

  1. Initial deposit:
    • For HK$ current account: HK$5,000.
    • For foreign currency account: HK$5,000 or equivalent.
  2. Average monthly balance:
    • For HK$ current account (Business Vantage): HK$500,000.
    • For foreign currency account (Business Vantage): HK$500,000 or equivalent.
    • Monthly fee payable in the absence of average monthly balance
      • For amount between HK$100,000-HK$500,000: HK$75.
      • For amount less than HK$100,000: HK$150.
  1. Account setup fee: HK$100
  2. Banking services/facilities:
    • ATM card (default daily ATM withdrawal limit: HK$20,000)
    • Chequebook
    • Credit card
    • Internet banking
    • Business insurance
    • Business loans
    • Trade finance

 

Hang Seng Bank

  1. Initial deposit:
    • For HK$ current account: HK$50,000.
    • For foreign currency account: HK$50,000 or equivalent.
  2. Average monthly balance:
    • For HK$ current account (Business Vantage): HK$50,000.
    • For foreign currency account (Business Vantage): HK$50,000 or equivalent.
    • Monthly fee payable in the absence of average monthly balance: HK$150
  3. Account setup fee: HK$100
  4. Banking services/facilities:
    • ATM card (default daily ATM withdrawal limit: HK$20,000)
    • Chequebook
    • Credit card
    • Internet banking
    • Business insurance
    • Business loans
    • Trade finance

 

DBS Bank

  1. Initial deposit:
    • For HK$ current account: HK$50,000.
  2. Average monthly balance:
    • For HK$ current account: HK$50,000.
    • Monthly fee payable in the absence of average monthly balance: HK$200
  3. Account setup fee: HK$3,000
  4. Banking services/facilities:
    • ATM card
    • Chequebook
    • Visa Debit card
    • Internet banking
    • Business insurance
    • Business loans
    • Trade finance

 

Bank of East Asia

  1. Initial deposit:
    • For HK$ current account: HK$5,000.
    • For foreign currency account: HK$5,000 or equivalent.
  2. Average monthly balance:
    • For HK$ current account (Business Vantage): HK$5,000.
    • For foreign currency account (Business Vantage): HK$5,000 or equivalent.
    • Monthly fee payable in the absence of average monthly balance: HK$50
  3. Account setup fee: HK$150
  4. Banking services/facilities:
    • ATM card (default daily ATM withdrawal limit: HK$20,000)
    • Chequebook
    • Credit card
    • Internet banking
    • Business insurance
    • Business loans
    • Trade finance

 

Citibank

  1. Initial deposit:
    • For HK$ current account: HK$10,000.
    • For foreign currency account: HK$10,000 or equivalent.
  2. Average monthly balance:
    • For HK$ current account (Business Vantage): HK$10,000.
    • For foreign currency account (Business Vantage): HK$10,000 or equivalent.
    • Monthly fee payable in the absence of average monthly balance: HK$400
  3. Account setup fee: none
  4. Banking services/facilities:
    • ATM card (default daily ATM withdrawal limit: HK$20,000)
    • Chequebook
    • Credit card
    • Internet banking
    • Business insurance
    • Business loans
    • Trade finance

 

Bank of China

  1. Initial deposit:
    • For HK$ current account: none
    • For foreign currency account: none
  2. Average monthly balance:
    • For HK$ current account (Business Vantage): none
    • For foreign currency account (Business Vantage): none
    • Monthly fee payable in the absence of average monthly balance: none
  3. Account setup fee: none
  4. Banking services/facilities:
    • ATM card (default daily ATM withdrawal limit: HK$10,000)
    • Chequebook
    • Credit card
    • Internet banking
    • Business insurance
    • Business loans
    • Trade finance

Standard Chartered Bank

  1. Initial deposit:
    • For HK$ current account: HK$1,000
    • For foreign currency account: HK$200 or equivalent.
  2. Average monthly balance:
    • For HK$ current account (Business Vantage): HK$10,000
    • For foreign currency account (Business Vantage): HK$10,000 or equivalent.
    • Monthly fee payable in the absence of average monthly balance: HK$100
  3. Account setup fee: none
  4. Banking services/facilities:
    • ATM card (default daily ATM withdrawal limit: HK$20,000)
    • Chequebook
    • Credit card
    • Internet banking
    • Business insurance
    • Business loans
    • Trade finance

 

Tips to Speed Up the Application Process / Increase the Success Rate

Here are a few tips to help you to make sure that you can successfully open a corporate bank account in Hong Kong:

  1. Your company must be able to demonstrate business activities or projected activities in Asia – this could be in the form of a list of potential clients and suppliers with some evidence of preliminary contacts with them.
  2. You may acquire the support of professional local bank introducers to prepare the compliance file and setup for the bank meeting/interview.
  3. Preparation before your bank interview:
    • Have the well-written description the business activities
    • Have a list of the potential clients and suppliers
    • Must be able to explain the owner and director’s background and business experience
    • Must be able to show the clear application purpose to the banks – why do you need a corporate account in Hong Kong?

 

Virtual Corporate Account Opening in Hong Kong

Other than the traditional banks, you can opt to setup a virtual corporate bank account in Hong Kong.

  1. What is Neat?
    • Neat is a Fintech startup that provides a modern alternative to a traditional bank account.
    • Neat is not a traditional bank. It works with a licensed MasterCard® issuer in Hong Kong, ePaylinks, who is also a holder of a Stored Value Facility “SVF” license issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”).
    • Customer’s funds are kept in a segregated bank account, in Neat’s case, at ICBC (Asia) – the Hong Kong subsidiary of ICBC.
  2. What is a Neat corporate account?
    • The corporate account opening process is done fully online.
    • The online application is free and only takes 15 minutes to complete.
    • Customers will get a dedicated Hong Kong bank account number in their company’s name where they can receive payments and disbursements from e-commerce payment gateways such as Stripe, PayPal, Amazon and more.
    • The corporate account also allows customers to transfer money to third-party bank accounts around the world at competitive rates.
    • Neat also provides corporate MasterCards for your company to make purchases worldwide (both online and offline) as well as to perform ATM cash withdrawal.
  3. Requirement for director and shareholders:
    • Do not need to be physically present in Hong Kong at the time of account opening.
    • Do not need to be Hong Kong residents.
    • Do not need to have a Hong Kong ID.
  1. Documents/information needed:
    • A Valid Business Registration Certificate (BR),
    • Passport of all directors,
    • Passport of all shareholders who ultimately own 10% or more of the company, and
    • A Board Resolution (it can be generated from within the Neat sign up form).

 

3E Accounting Corporate Account Opening Services as Part of Company Incorporation Package

  1. We will provide complimentary guidance on the choice of bank for the new company based upon the intended activity of the company and your business background.
  2. We will outline the information that you need to provide to the bank and will provide a website link of the bank for the client to submit their online account opening application.
  3. We will arrange the account-opening meeting.
    • Please note that we will not review your account opening application or supporting documents prior to submission to the bank.
    • We will not attend the meeting with the bank and all communication will be kept between the bank and your good self.
    • The decision whether to open a bank account for the company is entirely at the discretion of the bank and cannot be influenced by 3E Accounting.
    • 3E Accounting will accept no responsibility or any claim for loss should the bank delay or decline to open an account.

The Company Incorporation packages also include one set of CPA certified true copies of the company incorporation documents (i.e. the Certificate of Incorporation, Business Registration Certificate, Articles of Association, Form NNC1, Company Particulars Search and the Directors Declaration) as required by the banks for account opening purpose.