helperplace blog- feature_image

How to Open a Bank Account for a Domestic Helper in Hong Kong

https://cdn.helperplace.com/web-asset/images/Just_logo.png

HelperPlace

01-12-2020 | 5 Min read

Domestic helpers in Hong Kong often do not have bank accounts. If they are not citizens of Hong Kong or do not have the proper paperwork, opening a bank account can be challenging. Nevertheless, the benefit to open a bank account is higher than the time spent. It will be useful for Employer to make salary payment and also helpful for each worker to easily manage savings.

Why is a bank account a good idea?

Having a bank account for domestic helpers can allow them to save money for emergencies in a safe location. Moreover, employer will have the possibility to directly pay the worker’s salary by cheque, transfer or bank deposit. It will provide a strong proof of payment (salary payment by cash required to make a receipt), these accounts can protect employers and helper in the case of a discrepancy in pay.

Domestic Helper Bank account will allow to learn how to manage money more efficiently. Managing a bank account is often easier than managing cash payments.

What is Needed to Open a Bank Account?

Opening a bank account in Hong Kong is not easy for everyone. It can be more than helpful than an employer accompanies his domestic helper to the bank to set up the account. Documents often required by banks include a passport, ID, employment contract, and sometimes OEC number for Filipino domestic helpers.

What Should I Look for in a Potential Bank?

Many banks offer different benefits for opening accounts. However, Hong Kong banks are not as welcoming to domestic helpers as banks outside of Hong Kong. For this reason, you want to make sure that whatever bank you choose does not hinder your helper. The following are the first things you should seek when finding a bank.

1) Deposit Amounts

Make sure that the initial deposit is low. For some banks, this can be $5,000 to $10,000. However, for domestic helpers, this can be difficult. Be sure that domestic helper can meet this requirement.

2) Monthly Minimum Balance

Banks around the world require minimum balances. However, those in Hong Kong can require balances that are too large for the domestic helper to maintain every month. Many of these banks charge additional fees for dropping below the minimum. Make sure that domestic helper is able to maintain that balance and knows the risks of not meeting the requirement.

3) Free ATM Transaction Service

Some banks allow all transactions to be made through the ATM rather than inside the bank using a teller. This can help a domestic helper avoid any fees.

4) Low ATM Fees

Many banks now offer low or no fees to use an ATM card. Other banks, however, have an ATM card fee. Make sure that the bank you choose allows the ATM card free.

Which Options are possible in Hong Kong?

There are many options that you and your domestic helper may choose. You ultimately have to choose the option that works best for you. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, so you should visit potential banks to see which is best. However, you can use the information below to eliminate banks you know do not meet your potential needs.

Citibank

Citibank needs new account holders to verify their domestic and foreign addresses through utility bills, bank statements, or other documents. They do not need the domestic helper’s original employment contract, though. For identification purposes, they ask that the Hong Kong ID or passport be presented, but they do not require both. The minimum monthly balance is $10,000, with a $100 fee for dropping below this. If this is not possible for your domestic helper, you may want to look elsewhere. However, this bank has a positive reputation if it is possible. Making an over-the-counter withdrawal incurs a $20 fee. More Information for Citibank.

Standard Chartered

This bank has a similar setup requirement as Citibank, but it does not require proof of address. They also require the same amount as the monthly minimum balance, but the fee for dropping below is $120 rather than $100. They do not charge a fee for making over-the-counter withdrawals, though.

Bank of China

Like Citibank, they require proof of address, but they can simply use the OEC. The account holder must produce the OEC to open the account anyway. Bank of China also requires both the HKID and passport for proof of identification. There is no minimum balance, but it requires that you open the account with $1000. The fee for over-the-counter withdrawals is $20 here as well.

HSBC

This bank allows the original address from the OEC to be used as well. Like other banks, the OEC is required when opening the account. However, there is no minimum balance, no over-the-counter withdrawal fee, and the initial deposit is $2000. They do require both passports and HKID to verify identity.

Hang Seng

Like HSBC and Bank of China, Hang Seng requires users to provide the OEC for proof of address and open the account. The passport and HKID are also required for identification purposes. The minimum balance is $10,000, but in this case, the fee for dropping below is $60. There is a fee for over-the-counter withdrawals of $20.

Final Thoughts

There are many choices for accounts for your domestic helper. You might not choose to use the bank with the lowest minimum balance if it is the most restrictive otherwise. Assist your domestic helper in choosing the bank that will be the most economical for their situation.