Currency and Exchange Rate
The Hong Kong dollar (HK$) is an internationally recognised currency, separate from China˜s own currency. Major HK$ notes are: $100, $500 and $1,000 and lesser HK$ notes are: $10, $20, $50.
Coins issued are 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, HK$1, HK$2, HK$5 and HK$10.
The exchange rate of the Hong Kong Dollar is pegged to the U.S Dollar. The peg is roughly HKD$7.8 to the US$1. For an accurate exchange rate, see your nearest bank.
Banks / Opening up a Bank Account
Main retail banks in Hong Kong offer cash withdrawal facilities for Visa and MasterCard through Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) operating as a 24-hour service throughout the territory. Standard Chartered Bank has an ATM machine called JETCO. Citibank, HSBC Bank, Bank of America and Hang Seng Bank are other popular banks available here.
For more information contact www.info.gov.hk/hkma/eng
Check your banks ATM machine for bill payment options. Most utilities and Government services can be paid through an ATM machine.
The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC)
Tel: 2233 3000
Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong)
Tel: 2820 3333
Hang Seng Bank Limited
Tel: 2198 1111
Tel: 2868 8888
Opening a Bank Account
Setting up an account can take a while, and it can take several weeks to receive your check book for your checking account (called a current account in Hong Kong). Therefore, we would recommend that you attend to this while you are house hunting in Hong Kong. In most cases, to open a bank account, you need to arrive prepared with:
- Hong Kong Identity Card or
if you provide a passport you will need to bring along a second type of identification such as a driving license. Most of the banks will require a previous bank statement showing your address in your home country. You may also be required to provide a letter from your employer that verifies proof of employment and your income. It will be necessary to sign the forms in the presence of a bank employee. Typically, there is required minimum initial deposit.
If you are setting up an account with an American-affiliated bank using your U.S. passport, they will also require that you provide your social security number. All interest income will be reported to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
Note: Writing a check in Hong Kong can be a little more complicated than what you are used to at home. Bank staff often examine checks carefully for any irregularity; the slightest difference in signatures or any corrections will be questioned and returned for verification. Also, do not postdate checks. Use a black or blue ballpoint pen. Checks generally need to be 'crossed'. This means that two diagonal lines are drawn in the upper left-hand corner of the check usually to the left of your printed name. A crossed check restricts the check from being deposited into any account other than that of the payee.
Additionally, the payee˜s name must be written on the check exactly as it appears on his or her account. For instance, if you write a check to the 'Happy Harry Company', the check will not be accepted if the actual company name is 'Happy Harry˜s Company Ltd'.