BEA (Bank of East Asia) Hong Kong Telegraphic Transfer: Everything you should know

Joao Marcos

If you need to make an overseas payment you may be thinking of sending a telegraphic transfer (TT) directly from your BEA HK bank account.

TT payments made by banks and traditional payment providers typically use the SWIFT network, which can result in high handling fees. You may also find that the exchange rates used by banks are not the most competitive available.

This guide walks you through all you need to know about sending a TT payment with BEA HK. We’ll also offer an alternative as a comparison - low cost international payments with Wise - to help you find the best deal out there.

What are the fees for telegraphic transfers with BEA?

When you send a telegraphic transfer to a different country, or in a foreign currency, you’ll pay a fee for the service. However, the costs and fee structures can vary widely between different banks and providers. Choosing your regular bank for an international TT payment may not be the cheapest - or fastest - choice.

Let’s take a look at a comparison of BEA HK and currency specialist Wise.

A cost example: Sending HK$ 5,000 online, from Hong Kong to China

ProviderFeesExchange rateRecipient will receive
Bank of East Asia (BEA)HK$1000.893655CNY4,378.91 - further deductions for correspondent bank fees

*Fees and exchange rates correct at the time of research, 14 August 2020¹²³⁴

Join Wise now and start saving 🚀

As you can see, the costs of using Wise are lower than BEA in this example - and the exchange rate is better. In the end, this means your recipient gets more with Wise.

Other TT fees when using BEA HK

It’s important to note that the costs of sending a TT with BEA HK outlined above are not the only potential fees you’ll face. Depending on how you structure your payment, there could be additional charges. Here’s what you need to know:

ServiceBEA HK charge⁴
Sending a TT in a BEA branchHK$150 handling fee + HK$100-130 cable charge
Including a message in payment details in Chinese charactersHK$200
Commission in lieu of exchange0.25% of the remittance amount - minimum HKD100, maximum HKD1,000 Waived for remittances in HKD/USD to Mainland China
Handling fee if sender wants to pay correspondent bank chargesVaries by destination country and currency - more on this below

You’ll notice the reference to correspondent bank charges. These fees are levied if a TT payment is sent using the SWIFT payment network.

The SWIFT system is commonly used by banks to process international payments. It’s reliable, but it can be relatively slow - and it can mean you pay extra fees for your transfer. This is because SWIFT uses a network of partner banks - called correspondent banks - to process a single payment. Each of these correspondent banks can charge a fee which is deducted from the payment as they process it. This means your recipient gets less than you may expect.

One key issue with SWIFT is that your own bank may not be able to tell you in advance what the correspondent bank charges will be. This can cause a big problem if you need your recipient to receive a fixed amount.

BEA offers an additional service - which comes with its own fees - to ensure that the correspondent bank charges are all paid by the sender, and you can guarantee the amount the recipient gets. However, the much simpler solution is to choose a currency service which does not use the SWIFT network in the first place, like Wise. More on how you can save money on TT payments, coming right up.

BEA Hong Kong exchange rate

Whenever you send money overseas, you’ll need to convert it to the currency of the recipient’s account first. When you send an international TT with your bank, the bank will decide the exchange rate used for currency conversion.

Often the exchange rate offered by banks for TT payments includes a markup on the mid-market exchange rate. This is an extra fee in addition to handling or admin charges, which makes it tricky to see the true cost of your currency conversion. You can avoid this by choosing an international payment provider which uses the mid-market exchange rate without any markup, like Wise.

How long does a BEA TT transfer take?

The amount of time taken to send a payment overseas will depend on the payment route, and the processes the recipient’s bank uses. It’s common for payments which use the SWIFT system to take a few days to arrive.

Which currencies and countries can you transfer money to?

BEA allows telegraphic transfers in a broad range of major currencies.

Countries you can send to include Australia, Canada, China, Egypt, EU and EEA countries, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Macau, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Pakistan, Qatar, Thailand, UAE, UK, and USA.

If you’re sending money in an exotic currency, you’ll need to check with the bank to see if they can facilitate your payment.

Wise: A cheap, fast and transparent alternative

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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BEA Hong Kong contact - How to get in touch

You can get in touch with BEA HK usin

the enquiry form which is available on the BEA website. You can also call into a local branch, or get in touch using one of the following numbers⁵:

  • General banking services - (852) 2211 1333
  • Phone banking - (852) 2211 1888

No matter why you’re sending money overseas, you don’t want to pay any more than you have to for the service you need. Check out the full details of costs from your regular bank, and compare the fees and exchange rates on offer with those available from a specialist service like Wise to see if you can save.

Sources used in the article:

  1. HK BEA - Outward Remittance

  2. HK BEA - Cyberbanking

  3. HK BEA - General Services pages 8 and 9

  4. HK BEA - Foreign Currency T/T Exchange Rate

  5. HK BEA contact information here.

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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