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ACCOUNT OPENING REQUIREMENTS

ACCOUNT OPENING REQUIREMENTS

OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT FOR YOUR NEW COMPANY

We have more than 30 years experience assisting clients to open bank accounts and FinTech accounts in Hong Kong and overseas. We can help you to quickly get your business started by guiding you on the right choice of bank or FinTech account for your company and advising on the account opening requirements.

 

WHAT INFORMATION DO THE BANKS NEED?

All banks are required to comply with international Anti-Money Laundering regulations which require the banks to:

  • gain an understanding of the business activities of your new company, and
  • verify your business experience is relevant to the activities of your new company.

The objective of the regulations is to ensure banks avoid providing banking services to criminal organisations.

 

HOW TO EXPLAIN YOUR COMPANY’S BUSINESS ACTIVITY TO THE BANK

You will need to provide the bank with a summary of your company’s intended business activity including:

  • details of the products or services to be provided by your new company preferably supported by a website or a brochure to illustrate the product or service.
  • an estimate of your company’s annual turnover and an estimate of the average transaction value.
  • details of the target market for your company’s products or services including disclosing the countries where major potential customers are located.
  • details of any orders secured or under negotiation including relevant supporting documentation.
  • details of where your company will source it’s products if your company is a trading company.
  • details of who will manage the day to day operations of the company.

It is important to understand the bank has no prior knowledge of your company hence your summary needs to provide sufficient information to ensure the bank can properly understand the intended business activity of your new company.

 

BUSINESS BACKGROUND REVIEW

All banks will conduct a business background review to verify your business experience is relevant to the intended activity of your new company in order to prevent bank accounts being opened by criminals posing as legitimate business operators.

The information you will need to provide to the bank will depend on:

If you are a Hong Kong resident you will need to provide the bank with:

  • a copy of your CV.
  • a copy of your business card or employment contract so the bank can verify your employment.
  • a copy of any relevant professional or technical qualifications.

If you are an overseas resident and own an existing business in your country of residence you will need to provide the bank with:

  • the name of your existing overseas company.
  • a copy of a company search or equivalent documents from the relevant government authority in your country of residence showing your ownership of your overseas company.
  • the website address of your overseas company or a copy of a brochure.
  • a copy of invoices or contracts for a recent transaction undertaken by your overseas company in order the bank can verify the activity of your overseas company.

If you are an overseas resident and your business experience has been gained from employment the banks will usually only open an account if you can show the bank you have a minimum of 5 years relevant business experience. You will need to provide the bank with:

  • a copy of your CV.
  • a copy of your business card or employment contract so the bank can verify your employment.
  • a copy of any relevant professional or technical qualifications.
  • a copy of any documents to demonstrate you have business experience in Hong Kong or China.

In all cases to assist the bank with their background review we suggest you provide the bank with a reference letter from your existing banker detailing the length of banking relationship and stating the relationship has been maintained in good order.

OPENING AN ACCOUNT WITH A BANK IN HONG KONG

All banks operating in Hong Kong have a 2 stage account opening process requiring clients to complete an online application followed by a visit to the bank in Hong Hong for identity verification….. some banks have however relaxed this requirement for overseas clients who are unable to visit Hong Kong due to COVID travel restrictions and will verify clients identity remotely.

It should also be noted banks in Hong Kong will usually only open accounts where it can be shown the company will be selling to or buying from companies in Asia (preferably Hong Kong or China) or holding investments in Asia.

We take the opportunity to refer you to our guide to the process to open a bank account in Hong Kong.

 

OPENING A FINTECH ACCOUNT IN HONG KONG (ALSO KNOWN AS A DIGITAL OR VIRTUAL BANK ACCOUNT)

FinTech companies are licensed by the Hong Kong Government to provide online multi-currency payment platforms for the receipt and payment of funds and are increasingly used as an alternative to traditional bank accounts. As with a traditional bank account your company will have its own unique account number enabling your company to receive payments from and make payments to traditional bank accounts.

The benefits of opening an account with a FinTech company are accounts are opened online, the account opening is faster than opening an account with a traditional bank with the account usually operational within 1 week from submission of your account opening application, there is no minimum balance requirement and the ongoing charges for operating the account are also significantly less than a traditional bank account.

We take the opportunity to refer you to our guide to the process to open an account with a FinTech company.

 

OPENING AN ACCOUNT WITH AN OFFSHORE BANK

Hong Kong companies can also open accounts with banks located outside of Hong Kong.

The main benefit is that accounts can be opened online however the initial deposit requirement is usually above USD50,000 and the ongoing charges to operate the account are significantly higher than the fees charged by Hong Kong banks and FinTech companies.

We take the opportunity to refer you to our guide to the process to open a bank account in an offshore bank.

 

NEED MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPENING BANK ACCOUNTS?

Contact us at info@acshk.com to learn more about opening bank accounts.