Guide to Hong Leong Bank’s foreign currency accounts

Hannes Ausmees
14.02.22
4 minute read

A foreign currency or multi-currency account can be helpful if you get paid in foreign currencies, or if you need to make international payments often. Multi-currency accounts can also be handy for people who travel a lot or love to shop online with overseas retailers, and those who want to diversify investments by holding foreign currencies.

This guide to the Hong Leong Bank foreign currency account covers all you need to know about eligibility, account options and the HLB exchange rate you’ll access. We’ll also touch on the Wise Multi-Currency Account as a low cost, flexible alternative.

Table of contents

How does the HLB foreign currency account work?

Foreign currency or multi-currency accounts let customers hold one or more foreign currencies, and can be used to make one off or regular payments, to get paid in an international currency, or to invest.

Hong Leong Bank offers two foreign currency account options for personal customers:

  • Foreign currency account (current account)¹
  • Foreign fixed deposit account²

You can hold 10 foreign currencies in the current account for day to day spending such as remitting money overseas to support a family member, getting paid by an overseas employer, or paying international bills. Currencies available include:

  • US dollar
  • Canadian dollar
  • Australian dollar
  • British pound
  • Chinese renminbi
  • Euro
  • Hong Kong dollar
  • Japanese yen
  • New Zealand dollar
  • Singapore dollar

Minimum opening deposits apply, which can vary by currency. If you hold a USD balance you’ll need to deposit at least 1,000 USD, while HKD accounts can be opened with a 10,000 HKD initial deposit, for example.

The Foreign Currency Fixed Deposit Account is aimed more at people who are looking to invest and hold foreign currencies, rather than for day to day spending. The same range of currencies - and the same minimum deposit requirements - are in place, but with this account you can hold funds for a fixed term to earn a higher interest amount. If you need to withdraw a payment before the end of the fixed term, penalties may apply. More on the Hong Leong Bank interest rate later.

Fees and interest rates for Hong Leong Bank foreign currency accounts

Let’s take a closer look at the fees and interest rates available for both HLB foreign currency account options.

Interest rates

If you want to hold foreign currencies to earn interest you’ll probably want to choose the fixed deposit account option. Although theoretically interest is payable on the day to day foreign currency current account, at the time of research, the interest payable is 0.0% across all currencies, reflecting global markets. However, these rates may change over time, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

If you’re able to lock away your foreign currency balance in a fixed deposit (FD) account, you’ll be able to earn interest which varies by currency and based on how long you keep it in the account. The Hong Leong Bank FD rate at the time of writing ranges from 0.0% for EUR and JPY deposits, to 0.45% for 12 month holdings of USD, and 1.15% returns on a 12 month term for CNY.

Associated fees

There are also a few associated fees it’s worth knowing about:

Fee typeHong Leong Bank foreign currency account cost³
Transaction fee10 MYR Depending on the transaction type other costs such as commissions, postage or cable charges may also apply
Service charge30 MYR every 6 months
Early withdrawal penaltyIf you withdraw from a FD account early you may pay penalty fees and lose interest accrued

HLB multi currency account’s exchange rate

Using a multi-currency account can mean you avoid the need to exchange currency unnecessarily. If you get paid in a foreign currency you can hold it in your HLB foreign currency account until you next need to send money in that currency. That avoids unnecessary double conversion fees, and can help you manage fluctuations in the exchange rate.

If you know you’re going to need a foreign currency for a future payment you can also buy and hold the funds when the exchange rates are favourable. However, it’s important to note that the HLB exchange rate⁴ includes a markup on the mid-market exchange rate. This can push up the overall cost of currency exchange and means you may be able to find a better deal with a specialist provider.

You can get the Hong Leong Bank exchange rates online or by visiting a local branch. For reference, the calculator below displays the real mid-market exchange rate and a comparison between different providers for international transfers.

The true cost of sending MYR to SGD

How to open the HLB foreign currency bank account

Ready to get started? Let’s look at how to open your Hong Leong Bank foreign currency account.

Who is eligible?

To open your HLB multi currency account you must:

  • Already have an account with HLB
  • Be a Malaysian citizen, permanent resident, or foreigner with valid documentation
  • Be over 18 years old

It’s possible to open your MYR current or savings account online or in a branch, but you’ll then need to visit a branch to open your foreign currency account.

Steps to opening a HLB multi currency account

To open your HLB foreign currency account you’ll need to select the right account type for your needs and get in touch with HLB in branch, online or by phone. A member of the customer service team can talk you through the documents you need to provide and how to activate your account, based on your specific needs.

Select the account you are interested in, on the HLB website, and tap I’m interested to get started.

Hong Leong Bank contact details:
Phone number for all banking inquiries is 03 7626 8899 (open 9am to 6pm)
You can also contact HLB via social media or online chat on their website.

Pros and Cons

Let’s summarise some of the pros and cons of the HLB foreign currency accounts.

Pros ✅Cons ❌
  • Hold and transact in 10 currencies
  • Choose the FD account to earn interest
  • Make payments and manage your daily finances from the current account
  • Transact online, by phone and in branch
  • Exchange rates will include a markup
  • Transaction fees apply
  • Service fees and minimum opening balances apply
  • No linked debit card
  • Visiting a branch will be necessary
  • No interest on current account

The Hong Leong Bank foreign currency account does have some great benefits - especially if you prefer to manage your money via a bank branch. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper and more flexible option you might be better off with a Wise Multi-Currency Account.

Wise multi currency account - hold over 50 currencies and up to 3x cheaper


You can open your Wise account online or in the Wise app for free with no service fee and no minimum balance. You’ll be able to hold and convert 50+ currencies, and get paid from 30+ countries fee-free with your local account details. You can also get a linked debit card to spend without foreign transaction fees when you shop online with international retailers, and when you travel!

The Wise account doesn’t pay interest, but does offer international payments and currency conversion with the real exchange rate and low, transparent fees which usually beat the banks.

Use this guide to help you decide if the HLB foreign currency account is right for your needs, and don’t forget to check out the Wise Multi-Currency Account as a great alternative.

Get a free Wise account today 🚀

Sources

  1. Hong Leong Bank Foreign Currency Accounts

  2. HLB foreign fixed deposit account

  3. Fees and charges

  4. HLB forex rates

Sources checked on 11.02.2022


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 TransferWise 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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