Although not as easy as opening a bank account in mainland China, opening a bank account in Hong Kong is also relatively easy if you have a “good passport.” A good passport is one from USA, Canada, Australia, UK, Western Europe, etc. If you have a “shitty passport” then you can still open a bank account in Hong Kong but it will not be as easy. I have nothing against people with shitty passports, just pointing out that it’s shitty because you cannot open a bank account very easily.
To open a bank account in Hong Kong you need an “address proof” in addition to your passport. An “address proof” is a document showing your name and address such as a utility bill, mobile phone bill, bank or credit card statement, etc. For utility bills and bank statements it has to be issued within the last 3 months. For many expats in China this is not as easy as it sounds. If you rent an apartment the utilities are almost always in the name of your landlord. If you use a prepaid mobile SIM card, don’t have a Chinese credit card, and rent your apartment then it can actually be challenging to get this address proof required by the banks in Hong Kong.
Tips for getting the address proof you need to open an bank account in HK.
- Ask your landlord to put one of the utility bills in your own name.
- In China you won’t get bank statements in the mail (only credit card statements are mailed) but if you go to the bank and ask them to print a statement showing your name and address then you can use this as your address proof.
- If you have a post-paid mobile phone plan then go your mobile provider (China Unicom, China Telecom, or China Mobile) and ask them to print your account statement showing your name and address.
- Use your address from your home country if you still have a bank account or credit card and can get a statement issued from the last 3 months through your online banking. If you do use a Canadian or USA address then your account may have some restrictions such as not being able to open an investment account for buying stocks or investment funds. If you only need to do normal banking then it makes no difference using your China address or home country address. In the case of HSBC they will mail your security device to this address so make sure it’s an address where you or someone you know can get the mail.
- If you have a proper job in China and really can’t find any other address proof, try using your China employment permit (The red passport-sized book called “Alien Employment Permit”). This has been know to work in some cases although I wouldn’t count on it working 100% of the time.
If you have a good passport then just bring it along with your address proof to any major bank in Hong Kong and you can open the account on the same day. If you have a shitty passport then you can expect to wait a few weeks while your account opening application is processed.
For more information on the account opening procedure for HSBC Hong Kong read this document.
The procedure will be very similar at all other banks in Hong Kong.
Links to the major banks in Hong Kong.
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