transferring savings for quick access when emigrating to Hong Kong

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We are looking to emigrate to Hong Kong in a few short weeks. Obviously we are looking to take our savings with us which will need to be accessed pretty quickly in order to put deposits down on rented accommodation. As far as I know we will not be able to set up a Hong Kong bank account until there but are worried that transferring money may be complicated, expensive or take time depending on the UK and HK banks used. What is the best way to get your cash out there safely with you?

Moving money

Hello Anon;

The simplest method might just be a cashier's cheque, which of course does entail some bank charges to issue, but which would be safer then a brick of cash. There will be a charge on this end to cash/deposit it (this varies from bank to bank) but it's not much, and it should be straightforward.

Readers, any other methods come to mind?

Mr Tall

re: Moving money

Yesterday a friend was telling me about his HSBC Premier account. It lets him have accounts in HK, UK, and Malaysia (home, parent's home, wife's parents' home), and move money between them via the internet without paying any charges.

That sounds like an easy option if you're comfortable with online banking, and have HSBC in your home country.

Alternative banks to look at would be ones that:

  • are like HSBC, with branches in many countries. (Citibank springs to mind)
  • are based in your home country, but have branches in Hong Kong (Wikipedia has a good list)
  • are based in Hong Kong, but have branches in your home country. (Bank of China?)

Contact the ones you find and discuss how easy it is to move money between the HK and home accounts, how long it takes for the money to be available after a transfer, and what fees they charge.

Has anyone reading this used a similar service? Any things to watch out for?

re: Premier account

A couple of years ago I asked my local (USA) HSBC branch about opening up an account in Hong Kong.  They couldn't do it from here (USA) since HSBC there is actually a separate bank operating under different regulations.  Perhaps in other countries it might be different?  It was only with Premier accounts (with what might be considered a high minimum) that you can do the online transfers.