How to open a Euro bank account from Hong Kong
With borders opening up, doing business overseas has become a priority again. Freelancers and remote workers can work with clients anywhere in the world. eCommerce businesses are spreading their nets far and wide.
For Hong Kong businesses, Europe is one of the go-to international business hubs. In this article, we’re going to look at how to open a Euro bank account in Hong Kong.
For argument’s sake, let’s say you’re opening a bank account in Germany. Putting aside the stunning rolling hills and the mouthwatering Leberkäse, opening a bank account in Germany gives you easy access to the Euro, and positions your business closer to your clients spread across the continent.
Here’s what to expect when opening a Euro business bank account in Germany, from Hong Kong.
Requirements for setting up a Euro bank account in Germany
Prior to opening your bank account, it’s important to be aware that many of the traditional banks in Germany don’t allow foreign residents to open a bank account from overseas. While some do have the necessary forms, they may be reluctant to offer these forms in English.
While it’s quite a provincial way of thinking, it’s understandable, to a degree. It’s a lot more work, and there are uncertainties that come along with it, particularly in terms of identification for security purposes.
But while the traditional big banks might not allow you to open a Euro bank account from Hong Kong, the more modern banks are making moves online. These are known as direct banks. While many are online-only, they still operate the same way that traditional German banks do, and may allow you to open a business bank account from Hong Kong.
Which Euro account should I choose?
When looking at opening a Euro account, there are two types of bank accounts you’ll be looking at.
One is a business bank account, or Geschäftskonto, which will purely be for your business funds. The other is your personal account, Privatkonto, to keep your personal finances separate.
One thing to note. If you’re a freelancer, a freiberufler, in Hong Kong you might have your personal and business finances in one account. But it’s always recommended to open a separate business bank account, to ensure separation of personal and business dealings.
The same goes for Germany. In fact, it’s actually mandatory for freelancers or self employed people to maintain an accurate balance sheet for their business—so with this in mind, opening a business bank account is a good idea.
What information do I need to open a Euro bank account?
There are some standard pieces of information you’ll need to supply when looking to open a Euro business bank account:
A valid proof if identity, such as a passport or visa
Proof of identity for all business founders
Proof of business registration or proof of address. These are the usual items you’d expect, such as a bank statement, pay slip, or utility bill
German Tax ID number (Steuer-ID).
If you operate a corporation, you’ll also need to provide:
Articles of association
An excerpt from the commercial register, which can be done online
Certificate of incorporation
List of all shareholders
Account authorisation for shareholders.
As well as these pieces of information, some banks may require:
An initial deposit to open your account
Proof that you earn over a particular threshold per month
Submission of your SHUFA credit rating (which if you’re a foreigner, you likely won’t have).
What are the costs and fees I might expect?
There are a number of typical fees and costs to be aware of with a Euro bank account. These include:
Monthly fees. While some banks offer fee-free accounts, others may charge monthly fees of up to €29,90.
ATM and bank teller fees. Withdrawals are usually free if you’re with one of the big German banks. But with a foreign card you can expect to pay up to €10 per transaction.
International transfer fees. When sending money internationally to businesses outside of the EU, expect to pay a minimum of €10 - €15 per transaction, plus a SWIFT fee of €1,55.
There may be account closure fees to take into consideration.
Poor FX rates when transferring money, marked up anywhere up to 2% on top of the interbank exchange rate.
Annual card fees, which can be anywhere from €0 to €80 per year.
Minimum deposits and penalties if you don’t meet the minimum threshold in your account.
Can I open a Euro business bank account online?
If you’re looking to open a Euro business bank account in Hong Kong online, we have to be honest here—you’re going to have a hard time.
You can submit an application online, that’s no problem, but the majority of banking needs to be undertaken in person (businesses in a partnership arrangement, for example, are required to hand over their application details in person). And it’s almost a blanket requirement to have a Euro address, so without the right German identification and business documents, you might not be able to open one at all.
This is where modern banking alternatives are making things easier for businesses looking to expand internationally.
Airwallex Euro Global Account is a powerful Euro alternative
In fact, you don’t even have to leave your house. There’s no need to visit a branch in Germany, or jump through hoops as a foreign resident. You can open your account entirely online, with just a few clicks.
Then once your account is online, you can start sending and receiving payments in Euro immediately—no German ID or address required.
There are no monthly account fees, no sign-up fees, no annual card fees, and no minimum account thresholds.
Better still, we don’t charge exorbitant foreign exchange rates, or charge you through the nose to send currency into or out of the EU. All you’ll pay is 0.3% or 0.6% on top of our interbank exchange rate, and you can send it lightning-fast and fee-free.
So if you’re ready to take your business to Germany, or the wider EU, get in touch with us to see how an Airwallex Euro Global Account can get you there.
Related article: How to avoid paying foreign transaction fees
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