How to Open a Company Bank Account Online in Hong Kong

Contents

Register your company with Air Corporate

Pay less, get more

100% online and hassle-free

VIDEO

Whether you're an individual managing daily expenses or a business owner seeking financial solutions, opening a bank account is a crucial aspect of your financial journey.

In this article, you'll find a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to open a bank account in Hong Kong, whether you're a resident or a non-resident.

Key Takeaways

  • KYC document requirements vary for personal and corporate bank accounts in Hong Kong. Generally speaking, it is difficult to open a personal bank account if you do not reside in Hong Kong.
  • Online account opening is possible for online banks but more difficult for traditional banks.
  • Virtual business bank accounts are a great alternative to traditional banks. 

Documents Required to Open a Bank Account in Hong Kong

Depending on whether you opt for a personal account or a corporate account, you need to submit various documents to verify your identity. 

These documents are necessary for the bank to comply with the KYC requirements laid down by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

Documents for a Personal Account

  • Proof of identity

Your Hong Kong ID card if you are a resident or a copy of your passport if you are a non-resident.

  • Proof of address 

A utility bill, a bank statement, or a mobile phone bill (issued within the last three months). If you're unable to furnish a Hong Kong address, you can furnish proof of your residence in your home country.

  • Other documents

A valid visa in case of non-resident, employment contract (if you are relocating to Hong Kong for work) in Hong Kong.

Certain banks may also ask for extra documentation on a case-to-case basis. 

Additionally, documents that are not in English or Chinese may need official translation.

Documents for a Corporate Account

1. Incorporation documents 

These include:

  • Business Registration Certificate
  • Articles and Memorandum of Association/ deed of partnership, depending on the type of business entity (e.g., limited company or partnership).

2. Proof of address 

You need to provide the registered address of your business.

3. Other documents

  • Details of company structure including identification documents of beneficial owners, directors, and shareholders
  • Details of ownership structure of your company.
  • Bank statements of your existing business account (typically, for the past six months)
  • Copies of specific licences or permits if your business requires any to operate 
  • Proof of business (such as company presentation, contracts, purchase orders)

Regardless of the type of account you open, the requirements can vary from bank to bank and may even change due to regulatory updates. So make sure to reach out to the bank where you intend to open your account and ask them for their latest document and eligibility criteria. 

Which Banks Should I Choose to Open an Account?

The majority of banks provide similar services such as account opening, online and mobile banking, and interest on deposits. Here are some factors to consider when you are in the process of choosing a bank for opening an account: 

  • Account options/features offered
  • Rate of interest 
  • Reputation and security
  • Customer service
  • Ease of banking operations 
  • Add-on services offered 

Ultimately, the choice of bank depends on your individual financial goals and preferences. If you are planning to open an account in Hong Kong and are in search of a bank, check out the top service providers.

Can a Foreigner Open a Hong Kong Bank Account?

As a non-resident in Hong Kong, there are no legal restrictions on opening a Hong Kong bank account. The account opening process can vary depending on the country you come from. 

But each bank follows its own set of procedures. They are free to exercise their discretion to decide whom they want to provide account services to. It is possible that some banks may not allow non-residents to open an account with them. Ideally, you should research your options carefully before you approach any bank for account opening.

How to Open a Bank Account in Hong Kong

Opening a bank account in Hong Kong is no different than opening it in any other part of the world. While individuals can open a personal savings account, offshore companies and limited companies are permitted to open corporate bank accounts. 

Typically, you can open an account in Hong Kong by following these 5 steps:

Step 1: Pick a Bank

As there are several options available, the first order of business is to select a bank where you want to open an account.

Compare the banks based on factors such as eligibility criteria, types of account supported, fees charged, ease of online banking, location of branches, etc. 

Step 2: Prepare the Documents

Once you have zeroed in on your option, check the list of documents you need to furnish as part of account opening formalities and start getting them in order.  

Even though banks have a list of documents published on their website, it is advisable to call up the bank and confirm the list. 

Also confirm if you can submit the documents online or do you need to visit the branch in person. 

Step 3: Complete the Application Form for Account Opening 

Your bank may allow you to fill up the account opening application online or ask you to visit the branch to fill it up in person.

Always provide accurate and up-to-date information.

Step 4: Meet with the Bank Representative  

Usually, the bank representative may ask you to come in for a meeting, especially if you want to open a bank account for your offshore company in Hong Kong. 

In any case, a face to face meeting provides a great opportunity for the bank to understand your banking needs and iron out issues, if any. 

Step 5: Receive Approval and Activate Your Account 

If your application form and documents are in order, the bank will proceed with opening your account.  

The bank will send you your account details along with detailed instructions for activating your account. As part of account opening, the bank may also need you to:

  • Make an initial deposit
  • Set up credentials for internet and mobile banking
  • Make a domestic or international transaction

The exact procedure may vary from one bank to another. So always double check with your bank to ensure a hassle-free account opening experience. 

The entire account opening process may need up to 15 business days.

How to Open a Bank Account Online in Hong Kong

Usually, most banks allow Hong Kong residents to open their bank account online. 

If you are a non-resident,  banks may not allow you to open your first account online on account of the money laundering laws. Some may allow you to complete the online application form but still visit the branch physically to complete the account opening formalities. 

Banks like HSBC allow overseas passport holders aged 18-64 years living in  Australia, Canada, Macau, Singapore, the UK or US to open certain types of personal bank accounts online, without visiting any branch. 

Here are some ways in which non-residents can open an account in Hong Kong online:

Branch Application

If your home bank operates branches in Hong Kong, you can open your account remotely. Prominent examples include HSBC and Citibank that have branches in multiple jurisdictions.

You can visit the branch in your home country, complete the application form and furnish the relevant documents, ready to be sent to the Hong Kong branch. Your home branch can schedule an appointment at a local branch in Hong Kong so that you can complete the final steps once you land in Hong Kong. 

But not all banks offer this option, and every branch may have its own policies. So always check with your home branch if you can open an account in Hong Kong online.

Digital Accounts

Opening a digital account or a virtual account with a fintech platform is a great option for  international customers looking to set up an account remotely. 

You can complete the account opening process through a mobile app/browser and it takes only 3-4 business days to set up your account. Make sure to research and choose a reputable fintech company that supports the kind of account you need.

Alternatives to Traditional Banks — Online Banks

Apart from brick and mortar banks, virtual banks are an option you can consider. These accounts are managed by fintech companies and provide an extremely secure channel for financial transactions. These accounts cannot be used for holding deposits. But their USP lies in streamlining the payment processes and minimizing the logistical issues typically associated with maintaining numerous traditional bank accounts. They also work as channels that businesses can use for collecting multiple payments in different currencies and transferring them to a central account, reducing operational costs significantly. The application process for such an account is very simple and can be done remotely.

And if you are struggling with setting up your business in Hong Kong, Air Corporate can help. 

With Air Corporate, you can register your Hong Kong company within 24 hours. Plus, Air Corporate provides you access to a Hong Kong business bank account set up remotely. 

A business bank account is an account opened in your company's name but avoids the complicated account opening process associated with traditional banks. Various HKMA regulated fintechs in Hong Kong offer virtual accounts that can work as your business bank account. Here are some benefits of a business bank account :

  • Gives your business a professional identity 
  • Makes it easier to separate personal expenses from business expenses
  • Separates your personal assets from your business assets  

Conclusion

When it comes to opening a bank account in Hong Kong, residents have an easier time than non-residents. And non-residents setting up a offshore company in Hong Kong may also find it challenging to set up their corporate account compared to domestic companies. Having said that, it is not impossible. 

To minimize the chances of your account opening application getting rejected, make sure to carefully check the eligibility requirements and documents requested by the bank. Working with a third party service provider can also help you to overcome the obstacles and expedite the Hong Kong account opening process.

1. What are the benefits of opening a bank account in Hong Kong?

The key benefits of opening a bank account in Hong Kong are: 

  • Access to a stable and highly regulated banking environment
  • Ability to hold multiple currencies in a single account
  • No need to pay tax on deposits
  • Free capital transfer without any restrictions

2. Can I open a bank account as a tourist in Hong Kong?

While tourists are allowed to open a bank account in Hong Kong, the eligibility criteria depends on the banks.

Some banks may insist on a local address to allow a tourist to open an account whereas others may permit non-resident accounts on the basis of proof of ID and home country address.

3. Is it possible to open a Hong Kong bank account online?

With many banks offering digital account opening services, Hong Kong residents can open their accounts online.

However, it may not be a straightforward process for non-residents, as it typically requires an in-person visit to the bank and the submission of identity and address verification documents. Those opening an account for the first time may also find it difficult to open the account online.

4. Is it difficult to open a bank account in Hong Kong remotely?

All Hong Kong banks follow a strict account opening process.

Even though you may be able to submit your documents remotely, a visit to a branch may still be necessary for completing the account opening formalities.

5. What can I do if my account opening application is rejected by the bank?

The bank must offer you an explanation for rejecting your application.

Additionally, you can also request the bank to reconsider your application as the HKMA has a bank review mechanism in place.

author-img

Vivian Au

For many years, I worked at big accounting and company secretary firms in Hong Kong. I started Air Corporate to make the life of entrepreneurs and SMEs easy.

Vivian Au

Contact us

Wechat
Air Corporate Logo White

Copyright © 2018-2024 The Air Corporation Ltd, Hong Kong.

17/F, Yam Tze Commercial Building, 23 Thomson Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Registered with Hong Kong Registry for Trust and Company Service Providers under number: TC008778

Rated Excellent

WhatsAppIcon