Do I have to come to Hong Kong to open a bank account?
As of 20/01/2014, it is now required to meet the banker on site in Hong Kong to open a bank account with HSBC Kong (remote account openings are no longer possible).
We arrange for you this appointment with the bank (the HSBC agency is located 5 minutes walk away from our offices). We can organize this appointment from Monday to Friday from 09AM to 04PM.
Please note that for an appointment to be arranged with the bank, it is required that the company be registered (Certificate of Incorporation issued).
When can I go to Hong Kong to open the bank account of my company?
The appointment with the bank is only possible if your company is registered (Certificate of Incorporation issued).
Who should come to Hong Kong to open the bank account?
All directors and associates of the company must come to Hong Kong to sign the opening forms of the bank account of the company. If the bank account user “bank account operator” is neither a director nor a partner of the company, he must also be present in Hong Kong with the director.
What documents are requested by the bank for opening an on-site bank account?
To enable the banker to understand the nature of your business and your experience and because of the anti-money laundering regulations, it is required to provide the following documents translated into English:
– About you:
- For customers who already have a company:
Copy of the official registration documents of the company: Certificate of Incorporation (KBIS in France, Belgian Monitor, etc.) and documents (statutes, registers) indicating the position of the client in the company (director / associate).
- For salaried customers of a company (who are neither director nor shareholder):
copy of the employment contract indicating the name of the employer, the name of the client, his position, the duration of the contract, the signature
of both parties and provide website / brochure of the employer.
– About your activity:
- You already have an existing activity:
Sales agreement/ services delivery with the signatures / stamps of the 2 parties accompanied by 3 customer invoices or 3 supplier invoices accompanied by bank statements justifying their payments.
For import-export companies: transport documents with official stamps.
As the above documents are intended to help the banker better understand the client’s need to have a Hong Kong bank account, it is advised that these documents indicate that the client already has business in Asia. Therefore, it is advisable to bring evidence of relationships with customers or suppliers located in Asia (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan): business cards, brochure, quote, website, etc.
- For a new activity:
Copy of a sales contract with customers or suppliers located in Asia.
The copy of a proforma invoice is sufficient if the client is in the early stages of negotiation with its Asian customers / suppliers.
Business cards, brochure, website of Asian customers / suppliers to help the banker better understand the nature of the business.
All documents must be less than one year old.
If the documents are not in English or Chinese, they must be translated by a certified translator (stamp and translator’s signature on the documents).
What is the timeline to open the bank account of the company?
It usually takes a maximum of 15 business days for the banker to analyze the documents sent.
Is internet banking available?
Yes internet banking is available in all banks with which we work. It allows all the usual banking operations (consultation of accounts, transfers …).
How to contact HSBC Hong Kong?
On the “Customer Access” page of our site, please click on the link “H) How to contact HSBC Hong Kong?”
You will then get the means to contact HSBC Hong Kong by phone, mail, email and e-banking.
Can you contact the bank from me for a question about my account?
Banks have tightened their privacy rules and in accordance with the recommendations of the Hong Kong Banking Authorities, our company, as Company Secretary can not contact the bank on your behalf or act as an intermediary since we have no authority [authority instead of power] on your company’s bank account.
We invite you to contact your bank directly when you have any request related to your bank account.
Do you guarantee the opening of the bank account?
The opening of the bank account for a company is a decision made solely by the bank (it is the compliance department of the bank that makes the decision). We can not therefore be held responsible for an unopened bank account. Therefore, our package includes an obligation of means and not of result since we can not guarantee an element which does not depend on us.
This obligation of means is to assist you to open your bank account BUT we are not allowed to replace you in this process or to act on your behalf (if the bank asks you for additional information about your activity for example, we can not answer for you because the regulations forbid it). Following the appointment to open the account, banks usually communicate directly with the customer without going through us because of bank secrecy. As a result, we are not always aware of the progress of an account application or if there are missing items for the file. Similarly, we are not aware if a file is refused (the bank directly notifies the customer) and we can not know why a file was denied.
We undertake to assist you free of charge to open an account with a second bank if the first bank has not agreed to open your account or if the opening times are too long.
I already have an account with HSBC in another country, do I still have to come to Hong Kong to open the bank account of my company?
Unfortunately, yes because you are considered as a new professional client regardless of your history with the bank. In addition, because of bank secrecy, HSBC cannot exchange information with banks in other countries even if these banks belong to the HSBC network.
Where can I sign the opening forms of the bank account?
In accordance with regulations, these forms must be signed in Hong Kong.
We welcome you to our Hong Kong offices for their signature.
In which bank can I open a bank account?
In Hong Kong, we mainly work with HSBC, Hang Sang Bank, and China Citic Bank.
It is possible to open a professional account for your company. It is possible to open an account with several Hong Kong banks.
Where is the appointment with the bank?
The appointment usually takes place in the nearest agency to our offices.
ATTENTION: the appointment with the bank is only possible if your company is already registered (Certificate of Incorporation issued).
Who has access to the company’s bank account?
All directors and associates of the company must be present in Hong Kong to sign the opening forms of the bank account of the company.
Regarding us, we have no authority over your bank account.
Can I have a loan and / or an overdraft?
Only the bank can answer you on these topics because we can not answer on behalf of the bank. We invite you to ask the question directly to your account manager.
However, please note that as a non-resident, the bank needs to know your business and transaction history for several months before offering you additional banking services.
What is the amount to deposit in the bank account when it opens?
The amount to be deposited at the opening of the account (“initial deposit”) is a minimum of HKD 10,000 (approximately EUR 1,100). This amount is immediately available upon the opening of the company’s account.
How to receive funds on my account?
The bank will give you its SWIFT code, which will allow you to receive funds by bank transfer.
Please note that the IBAN does not exist in Hong Kong (but you can make transfers to an account with an IBAN). To make a transfer to your account, you must indicate to your customers your account number, the name and address of the bank, and the SWIFT code of the bank.
It is possible to cash checks issued out of HK but we strongly advise against this means of payment abroad because of the time of collection (more than a month) and fees.
How to withdraw funds from my account?
The usual way is bank transfer. Please note that a fax transfer request is not accepted (only by mail or Internet via the bank’s Internet banking interface). HSBC offers you a debit and credit card.
In which currencies can the account be opened?
Two professional bank accounts are automatically opened:
An account in HKD (required).
A multi-currency account: EUR, USD, RMB, etc.
Regarding the account in multi-currency, you may indicate during account opening or later according to your needs, the desired currencies. If you receive a payment in a currency that is not in your account, the bank will automatically create a new account with that currency.
Can I open a bank account for the company outside of Hong Kong?
Yes, but a problem may arise:
The credibility of your company that will have a bank account in another country than the location of the company’s headquarters, which can pose some credibility problems for your invoices and therefore have a legal and tax impact for your customers / suppliers.
Can my clients pay me by credit card (Merchant Account)?
Hong Kong banks offer a Distance Marketing or Merchant Account (VAD) only for companies with local Hong Kong operations.
It is therefore necessary to use third-party payment such as PayPal, WorldPay, 2CheckOut, etc.
Is there bank secrecy in Hong Kong?
Bank secrecy is applied in Hong Kong. The bank will therefore not communicate information to third parties, except in the case of a request from the Hong Kong authorities, as well as within the framework of the Common Reporting Standard which is an automatic exchange of tax information for so-called offshore companies or having mostly passive income.
Is it possible to cash checks in Hong Kong?
Banks in Hong Kong usually refuse to cash checks issued by non-residents of Hong Kong or China and almost always send them back to their issuers.
We strongly discourage the use of this payment tool that is not suitable for international trade.
Can I pay my bills outside Hong Kong with a checkbook issued from my account in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong banks only offer a checkbook in HKD. Therefore if your provider accepts, yes it is possible, but internationally we strongly advise against the use of checks due to costs and time of collection (the bank transfer is preferable).
Do you offer non-registered bank cards?
Banks in Hong Kong no longer offer this type of credit card.
What investments are available?
Through banks, all investments are available: stock market, currencies, investment funds, life insurance, gold, etc. in all major world markets (USA, Europe, Asia, etc.).
How to use a trading platform (stock market, forex, etc.)
Our banking partners offer the main trading platforms like Interactive Brokers, etc. The accounts opened with these brokers are in the name of your Hong Kong company.
Can I open an account with Interactive Brokers?
Yes, absolutely. Also, through our partnership, we offer you a simplified procedure to open an account for your company with Interactive Brokers (IB).
Can I open an account in RMB / CNY / Yuan?
The RMB or CNY or Yuan is the currency of China.
It is now possible to open an RMB account with HSBC Hong Kong and thus receive RMB payments and pay your suppliers in RMB. The opening of this account is automatic.
Can the bank issue a bank reference letter?
Yes, absolutely. This letter can be issued in English or Chinese with the appropriate mentions according to your needs (for example to open a representative office or a subsidiary in China).
Does the bank accept letters of credit (L / C)?
The bank processes (issues and receives) letters of credit (L / C) and documentary credits (Document Credit – DC). In order to do this, the bank will open a Trade Services account for you to manage them. Through their Instant @dvice service, everything can be managed online and by email (it is not necessary to go to Hong Kong for their processing).
Do I need to provide a business plan to the bank?
It is necessary to provide a business plan for the opening of your bank account.
Please note that we provide you with a template to complete in English:
– this document is 2-pages long and the questions are very basic: activity of the company, turnover expected, etc .;
– it is in English and we are at your disposal to help you fill it;
– this document is validated by our French team [do you need this?] and then by our Hong Kong team before being transmitted to the bank. This double validation ensures that your bank account will be open without any problem and in the usual time.
What is the transfer limit?
For branch transfers from HSBC Hong Kong, there is no limit.
For “paper” transfers (sending a transfer order by mail using the appropriate form), there is no limit.
For e-banking transfers, the limit is HKD 20,000,000 (or equivalent in another currency) per day (regardless of the number of transfers made). It is can increased to HKD 128 million per day upon request.
What power [authority?] do you have on the bank account of the company?
Only the beneficiary who has signed the opening form of the bank account has access and has power to the bank account of the company.
We (as a Company Secretary or otherwise) have no authority or access to your bank account.
Therefore, due to the strict banking secrecy applied in Hong Kong, only the beneficiary can interrogate the bank and act on the bank account of the company.
Can I open multiple bank accounts?
Your company in Hong Kong can open as many bank accounts as you want in Hong Kong and out of Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, we suggest you to open a bank account with HSBC, Hang Seng Bank, or China Citic bank. Other banks in Hong Kong are also available (contact us).
In all these banks, 2 bank accounts will be opened:
– an HKD account (required);
– A multi-currency account: EUR, USD, GBP, etc.
Can I open a personal bank account in Hong Kong?
This is only possible if you are a resident in Hong Kong. It can be organized when you come to Hong Kong (your physical presence at the agency is required for its opening).
Can I have a credit card?
HSBC offers withdrawal cards and payment cards. The difference between the two:
– Debit card (called ATM card): card directly debiting your bank account. It allows you to withdraw funds from all Visa / Mastercard / UnionPay distributors. This card is automatically issued when you open your bank account.
– Credit card (Visa Gold or Visa Platinum): Visa cards with the credit function to pay merchants (in store or online). This card must be requested (it is not issued systematically).
Please note that these cards are issued in HKD, so they charge your HKD account which must therefore be credited by your other foreign currency accounts if applicable.
For a credit card, the minimum amount to be charged to your account is HKD 30,000 for a Gold Visa and HKD 50,000 for a Platinum Visa.
Support costs for the application of these cards (signature of the forms, delivery to HSBC, etc.) are included in our package.
Can I have a debit card (ATM card)?
HSBC Hong Kong automatically offers with each account opening an ATM card (withdrawal card). It is a bank card that works with distributors [ATM] around the world. This card is free.
Is there IBAN in Hong Kong?
The International Bank Account Number (IBAN) does not exist yet in Hong Kong. The IBAN is mainly present in Europe and tends to spread around the world. Therefore to make a transfer to a bank account located in Hong Kong, you must indicate to the bank issuing the transfer the account number and the SWIFT code of the bank of destination.
Can I come to Hong Kong to sign the account opening forms even if the company is not registered yet?
The appointment with the bank to open the bank account of the company is only possible if your company is registered (Certificate of Incorporation issued). So you can come to our office to sign the registration documents of the company but it will be necessary in this case to wait for the Certificate of Incorporation to be issued to meet the banker.
Here are the deadlines for registering your company:
– “Express” check-in on site: 24h
– “Standard” remote registration: 7 working days
What is the maximum amount limit for cards to withdraw cash from a distributor?
The cash withdrawal limit in a distributor is as follows:
– Debit card (ATM): HKD 20,000 per day (limit to be converted into the currency of the country in which the distributor is located);
– Visa credit card: HKD 10,000 per day (limit to be converted into the currency of the country in which the distributor is located).
What is the maximum credit card payment?
The credit card payment limit is related to the guarantee you block on your bank account. So if you block HKD 30,000, your monthly payment limit will be HKD 30,000 (to be converted into the currency of the country where the payment is made). This ceiling can therefore be increased or decreased according to your needs.
What name is indicated on the bank card issued by bank?
The name indicated on the bank card issued by the bank is the name of the company along with the name and surname of the cardholder.