BOC (Bank of China) Hong Kong Telegraphic Transfer: Everything you should know

Joao Marcos

There are several different ways you can send a payment overseas. If you need to get money to a recipient abroad, you might think the simplest way to arrange your transfer will be using your regular bank. It’s certainly a familiar solution - however, the costs of making international transfers with major banks can be higher than using specialist providers.

To make sure you’re getting the best deal available, you’ll want to do a little research, comparing your normal bank with some alternative providers. If you normally bank with Bank of China Hong Kong, we have you covered.

This guide runs through the costs and exchange rates used when sending money abroad with BOC. We’ll also offer a comparison against Wise and the simple, low cost payments available through the platform. Let’s get right into it.

What are the fees for telegraphic transfers with BOC?

When you arrange a telegraphic transfer (TT), you’ll need to know the fees and the exchange rates used. It’s good to know that there may be several different fees to consider with a single payment. You’ll usually pay a transfer fee, which may vary depending on whether you arrange the payment in branch or online. You may then also have to pay additional charges, including fees related to the SWIFT Network.

Let’s take a look at what this might mean in practise:

A cost example: Sending HKD 5000 from Hong Kong to the UK (GBP)

ProviderFeesExchange rate (1HKD)Recipient will receive
Bank of China (BOC)HKD65 +GBP20 SWIFT charges¹0.0978976²GBP463.12

*Fees and exchange rates correct at time of research - 24 August 2020

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Other TT fees when using BOC HK

As you can see in the example above, BOC has higher fees, and also offers a less favourable exchange rate compared to Wise. There may also be additional costs to consider, depending on how you arrange your BOC HK transfer. Here’s what you need to know:

ServiceBOC HK Charge¹
Arranging a personal transfer in a branchHK$210
Arranging a personal transfer to BOC in the mainland or to designated branches outside of Hong Kong, in a branchHK$200
Handling fee for message to beneficiary
  • In branch - up to 10 words or characters is free, HK$100 above that
  • Fee waived for online transfers
SWIFT chargesVary by currency
Enquiry, amendment, return or cancellation requestHK$220
Receiving inward remittance
  • Free for transfers under HK$500
  • HK$60 fee for receipt of larger value transfers

A couple of key fees to know about are the exchange rate markup and additional costs which are related to the SWIFT Network.

The SWIFT network is commonly used by banks to process TT payments, and involves several partner banks working together to get the transfer to the correct account. These partner banks are called correspondent banks, and can deduct a fee for their services if they choose to.

BOC offers the option of paying the correspondent bank charges yourself, or leaving them for the recipient to cover. In this case, the fees are deducted from the amount that arrives in the recipient’s bank account in the end.

BOC Hong Kong exchange rate

The exchange rate BOC HK uses for your transfer may include a markup. This is a common practise, but it can mean it’s hard to see the full cost of your international payment.

To see if there’s a markup on the exchange rate you’re offered, you’ll need to first find the mid-market exchange rate for your currency pairing. This is the exchange rate which the bank will get when buying currency in the first place. By comparing the rate they pass on to customers, you can see if any additional fee has been applied.

Not all currency services choose to add a fee on to the exchange rate. For example, with Wise, you’ll be able to access currency conversion which uses the mid-market exchange rate every time. You’ll only ever pay a low, transparent fee for your transaction, which can work out much cheaper than using your regular bank.

How long does BOC TT transfer take?

When you arrange your international payment with BOC, you’ll be able to ask about the likely time the service will take. The processing time will depend on the currency and destination country, as well as the way your recipient’s bank handles international transfers. Typically SWIFT payments take 3 to 5 business days, but you can also pay for an expedited service on some currency routes.

Which currencies and countries can you transfer money to?

You can transfer money from your BOC HK account in a range of major currencies, as well as 30 non-major currencies. Major currencies include CNY, USD, EUR, SGD, THB, GBP, CAD, AUD, JPY and NZD. You can find the full listing of available major currencies, as well as the live BOC exchange rates, online, but you’ll need to call to get availability details for non-major currencies³.

A cheap, fast and transparent alternative: Wise

Before you decide to use your regular bank for an international TT payment, check out Wise as a cheap, fast and transparent alternative.

Wise international payments do not use the SWIFT network - so there are no correspondent bank charges. All currency conversion uses the live mid-market exchange rate with no markup and no sneaky hidden costs. You just pay a low, transparent fee - you can see the cost, and the full amount your recipient will receive, before you confirm your Wise payment.

See how much you can save with Wise.

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BOC Hong Kong contact - How to get in touch

If you need to ask a question about your TT payment with BOC, you can get in touch using the following details:

  • Call the Personal Customer Service Hotline +852 3988 2388
  • Call the Remittance Hotline +852 2836 8788
  • Call into any branch, or talk to your relationship manager

Finding ways to send money abroad isn’t too tricky - but finding the best available deal might take a little research. Don’t forget to look at both the exchange rates and fees available from different providers - including additional SWIFT costs which are sometimes hard to spot upfront.

For a simple, secure international payment service, check out the options available from Wise.

Sources used in the article:

  1. BOC HK - Service Charge

  2. BOC HK - T/T Exchange Rates against HKD

  3. BOC HK - Outward Remittance Guide, pages 1 and 4

Sources last checked on 09-September 2020.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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