Bank accounts

Personal finance

Banks in Hong Kong offer a wide range of bank accounts to cater for different banking needs. They are generally categorised as savings, current, time deposits, non-HKD, integrated and investment accounts.

Choose a bank account that suits you most

For day-to-day money management such as making frequent withdrawals and paying bills, a current account may not be helpful. Fixed or time deposit account offers a higher rate of interest on your savings but it may not suit you if you need immediate access to your funds. If you want to use online or telephone banking, make sure what's offered measures up to what you need.

Once you know your financial needs and goals, start comparing banks, their services and associated service fees. Remember to ask about the following:

  • Types of accounts offered
  • Minimum balance requirements and fees
  • Account fees and other service fees such as ATM, overdraft and late charges
  • Interest rates offered
  • Accessibility and coverage of ATMs and branch networks, local and international

Opening a bank account

If you live in Hong Kong, you need to show proof of identity, such as a Hong Kong Identity Card or passport, and proof of address, such as a utility bill.

If you're a non-resident, you must provide a passport and proof of address in your home country. Additional documents, such as letters of employment, may be required depending on the individual bank.

Banks must also comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance and Guidelines on Anti-Money laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing when opening bank accounts for customers.

Common types of bank accounts

Bank accounts Features/Services provided Things to note
Savings Account

Savings account provides interest - which is not offered on current account, while allowing you to withdraw your funds at any time without penalty - unlike a fixed or time deposit account.
  • Interest calculated daily and paid monthly or semi-annually. Check with your bank for individual account details.
  • In-branch, telephone and online banking services
  • ATM cards
  • Passbook or monthly statements
  • Monthly account keeping fees
  • Minimum balance fees
  • ATM fees for using another bank's ATMs
  • Overseas ATM withdrawal fees
  • Over the counter withdrawal fees
  • Security control for ATM services
Current Account

Current account does not pay interest, but allows you to make payment with cheques, which gives you more flexibility in managing your finances.
  • Cheques / cheque books
  • In-branch, telephone and online banking services
  • ATM cards
  • Passbook or monthly statements
  • Range of currencies at most banks
  • Monthly account keeping fees
  • Minimum balance fees
  • ATM fees for using another bank's ATMs
  • Overseas ATM withdrawal fees
  • Over the counter withdrawal fees
  • Overdraft fees
Fixed / Time Deposit Account

A fixed or time deposit is a sum of money that you agree to leave on deposit for a certain period of time, anywhere from one week to a year or longer period. When the term is completed, you can withdraw your money or renew for another term. This type of account usually gives a higher rate of interest than an instant-access savings account. Generally speaking, the longer the term, the higher the deposit rate. Also, with a fixed term savings account, you'll receive interest on your money at a rate that won't change for the term of your deposit.
  • Higher interest rate than most savings accounts
  • In-branch, telephone and online banking access
  • Set time periods
  • Minimum deposit level
  • Early redemption penalties
  • Monthly account keeping fees
Non-HKD Deposit Account

If you want to hold money in foreign currencies, a non-HKD deposit account can give you a wide range of options in handling your finances. Different banks have different choices of currencies, and interest rates on each currency will fluctuate.
  • Wide range of currencies choices
  • In-branch, telephone and online banking access
  • Variable interest rates
  • Foreign currency interest rate fluctuations
  • Exchange rate fluctuations
  • Types of exchange rates (Telegraphic transfer and bank notes)
  • Bid/offer price spread on foreign currency
Integrated Account

An integrated account consolidates all your different bank accounts under a single account number. This type of account is appropriate for anyone who wants an overview of their entire financial situation and a convenient way to manage their money across all accounts.
  • Consolidated statement
  • Access to non-HKD deposit accounts
  • In-branch, ATM, telephone and online banking access
  • Exchange rate fluctuations
  • Minimum balance fees
  • ATM fees for using another bank's ATMs
  • Overseas ATM withdrawal fees
  • Over the counter withdrawal fees
Investment Account

Many banks offer investment accounts through which you can trade stocks, buy or sell bonds, unit trusts, subscribe for certificate of deposits, IPO stocks or other investment products eg equity-linked or currency-linked deposits. Investment accounts provide additional flexibility to pursue an investment strategy that meets your particular circumstances. Most banks provide qualified in-house investment professionals, who will advise you on your investment options, but you can manage your investments on your own if you wish.

Learn more about investing
  • Access to a wide range of investment vehicles
  • Manage multiple investments from a single account
  • Professional investment advice available
  • Product-specific up-front and exit fees
  • Custodian and nominees fees
  • Trade-related fees
  • Minimum brokerage fees

Understanding joint accounts and dormant accounts

Joint account

A joint account is a bank account shared by two or more individuals. Usually, joint accounts are shared between close relatives or business partners. When opening a joint account, be sure to ask your bank:

  • What are the rights and responsibilities of each holder of the joint account?
  • Are all transactions entered into by the authorised signatory / signatories binding on all account holders?
  • What is the process for changing the authorised signatory / signatories or signing arrangements?
  • What happens if the joint account is overdrawn or otherwise indebted?
  • How does the right of set-off affects holders of joint accounts? Will the bank claim the right to set off the credit balance in your individual account(s)?

Dormant account

A dormant account is an account with no activity (other than bank-initiated transactions such as interest payments or fee withdrawals) for a certain period of time - generally 6 months or more.

To offset the costs involved in maintaining these unused accounts, the bank may charge you a dormant account fee and/or discontinue services (such as ATM services) for dormant accounts. To avoid dormant accounts - and the possible fees involved, review your bank accounts regularly and keep only the ones you need and actively use.

Review your bank statements regularly

Every month, your bank should provide a statement of your accounts. Be sure to review your statements promptly and report any erroneous or unauthorised transactions to your bank as soon as possible. Your bank may not recognise any errors or unauthorised transactions in your statement if more than 90 days have passed since it was issued.

Deposit Protection Scheme

If your bank is a member of the Hong Kong Deposit Protection Scheme, your deposit accounts are protected up to HKD500,000 per account holder in the unlikely event of a bank failure. For further details, read more about the Deposit Protection Scheme.