HSBC Hong Kong has a full range of accounts for both personal and business customers. If you want to manage your company finances with HSBC HK, you can choose from several different account types which are designed to suit businesses of different sizes and stages.
This guide walks through the account options including the key costs to consider when you’re thinking of opening an HSBC business account.
We’ll also take a look at how you can cut the costs of sending money overseas with Wise - a smart way to pay overseas suppliers and staff, and protect your business profits.
HSBC offers 3 different accounts for business customers¹. Depending on the business type you have - as well as the likely balance you’ll hold, and the type of transactions you’ll make every month, you might choose from one of the following:
This account offers an initial 12 month period with no monthly fees to pay. This can make this a good account option for newer businesses - although you’ll need to pay for all over the counter transactions, as well as service fees. You’ll get online and mobile banking, including WeChat notifications, and support to process client payments more quickly².
With HSBC Business Direct you’ll benefit from the same simple banking solutions as with the Spirit account, but with some free over the counter transactions every month. Depending on the balance you hold, there may be a monthly fee to pay. You’ll be able to pull together all your checking, savings, investments and loans in the same account - and Business Direct customers also get same day remittances to Greater China³.
BusinessVantage is the product HSBC recommends for established and growing businesses which may have more complex banking needs. You can access a full range of services, and use HSBC branches, online, mobile and by phone, to manage your business finances whenever you need to. There are service fees for this account type, which vary depending on the balance you hold - and are waived if you hold an average of HKD500,000 across eligible HSBC accounts⁴.
You can open a business account with HSBC HK as a sole proprietor, or if your business is a Partnership or Limited Company.
The documents you need to present when opening the account will vary according to the type of business entity you have⁵, and the account type you’re opening. You can expect to be asked for names, addresses and government issued identification for all beneficial owners, and others connected to the business such as signatories and direct appointees. You’ll also need proof of your tax status and your opening deposit.
For business owners who have a Partnership or Limited Company, you’ll need to provide a comprehensive suite of documents relating to the business, including registration documents or your Certificate of Incorporation, company search report and Articles of Association. Because the requirements are quite complex, it’s best to check the HSBC website before opening your account, where there are handy checklists of documents required by account and business type.
HSBC recommends that all customers start to open their account online. You may even find there’s a discount on the account application fee or cashback if you open a credit card, when you apply online.
Head to the HSBC online Account Application Centre, and submit the paperwork required for your specific business structure and account type. You may then be able have your ID verified online, in which case you’ll receive your account number once the application is processed. If you’re not able to complete the verification process online, you’ll be contacted by HSBC and will need to attend a branch to finish up your application.
The costs of managing an HSBC business account depend on the specific account type which suits your business.
You may find that there are opening offers which waive or reduce the costs of running your account for the first few months, or offer other business friendly perks. Here’s a summary of the key fees associated with HSBC business accounts⁶:
|Account application fee||HK$1,400|
|Monthly service fee||HSBC Spirit Account|
|Counter transaction fee||HSBC Spirit Account - HK$10 per transaction HSBC Business Direct Account - 3 free transactions per month, then HK$10 per transaction HSBC BusinessVantage - no fee|
|Inward telegraphic transfer||HK$65|
|Inactivity fee||Applied if the account balance is up to HKD50,000: |
|Account closure fee||HK$500|
Whenever you send a payment overseas, there are fees to pay. You’ll usually find an upfront administration fee for the transfer, as well as other possible costs depending on how you set up the payment. It’s important to understand all of the fees you may pay, so there are no surprises.
As well as looking at upfront costs when making an international transfer, it is essential to look at the exchange rates which are used for the payment. Many banks and payment providers add a markup to the exchange rate used which is an extra fee. This pushes up costs, and makes it harder to see the real cost of the overseas transfer.
**To show how this works, let’s take an example transfer of HKD1,000 sent online to an account in the UK. **
We’ll look at the upfront fee and exchange rate used by a standard HSBC business account, and compare it to the same payment from Wise⁷. Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate with no markup for all payments - whether they are for personal and business use - with a low transaction fee.
|Provider||Fees||Exchange Rate (1HKD=GBP)||Recipient will receive|
Here, you can see that the HSBC business transfer costs more in upfront costs compared to Wise. The exchange rate used is also not as strong.
It’s good to know that there may also be other fees associated with sending money overseas with HSBC Hong Kong, depending on how you structure your payment. Here’s a rundown:
|Service||HSBC HK business account fee|
|Sending an outward transfer from a bank branch||HK$260|
|Additional fee for submitting a transfer request and not using the standard form||HK$150|
|Additional fee for payment instructions over 140 characters||HK$120|
|Amendment, cancellation or enquiry charge||HK$250 + correspondent bank charges|
|Additional fee for same day processing on weekends or after 12 noon on weekdays||HK$40|
|Additional fee for ‘remote currencies’ like the Korean won||HK$200|
As a business owner or entrepreneur, you’re likely to find that you need to send and receive business payments overseas. Maybe you’re working with suppliers based abroad, or you want to employ a new team member and need to make international transfers to cover payroll.
Being able to connect with customers, suppliers and employees overseas can help your business grow. But sending money overseas with your bank can be expensive - and business account fees can be even higher than sending personal payments abroad.
Avoid high international payment costs with Wise. All payments are made using the mid-market exchange rate which you can easily find on Google. There’s no markup, and just a simple, transparent fee per transaction. You’ll be able to see exactly what your recipient will get before you confirm the transfer - so there are no surprises. Just simple, safe and fast international payments, using the mid-market exchange rate. See if you can save with Wise today.
Here’s how to talk to the team at HSBC HK if you need to get help or advice⁸:
- Call HSBC commercial banking hotline on +852 2748 8288, or the application line on +852 2748 8238 to make an account opening appointment
- Chat online via the HSBC website
- Mail HSBC at GPO Box 64 Hong Kong
- Visit your local branch to talk to a member of staff face to face
Having a business bank account is essential to help you manage your company finances, and protect your profits. But your business bank account isn’t the only option you have when it comes to sending or receiving international payments to suppliers, customers or staff.
Check out Wise, for cheap, simple cross border payments all over the world, using the mid-market exchange rate with no markup.
Sources used in the article:
HSBC Business HK - Integrated Accounts
HSBC Business HK - Sprint Account
HSBC Business HK - Business Direct
HSBC Business HK - Business Vantage
HSBC Business HK - Account Opening
HSBC Business HK - Tariffs
Sources last checked on 21-October 2020.
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