As the world gets smaller as international travel gets easier, there becomes a greater need to send money from one country to another. For Hong Kong nationals living in the UK, transferring money to Hong Kong may be vital for loved ones or ongoing business transactions.
Whether your money transfers are for business or personal reasons you still want to ensure that you are getting the best deal and paying the minimum amount of charges. This can prove to be a challenge as sometimes it isn’t easy to see exactly what deal you are getting.
In order to save you time, this guide aims to inform you of the different currency transfer options available to you in different situations.
So What Are The Best Ways of Transferring Money to Hong Kong?
If You Are Moving from Hong Kong to the UK
Like most banks in the world, UK banks will accept transactions made in US dollars. However, not all of them will accept funds transferred in Hong Kong Dollars.
If you choose to use a bank for your transfer, then you are tied in with their rates. Banks will always charge high international money transfer fees and they will not offer you the best exchange rates.
Choosing to use an online money transfer service gives you a far wider choice of providers and will let you avoid higher fees.
Our Verdict: World First offers great exchange rates on all currencies including transferring Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) to Hong Kong from the UK.
Sending Money for Business
If the business is frequently making transactions between Hong Kong and the UK, there are a couple of things to consider.
- The Exchange Rate Margin is the difference between the rate you are offered and the wholesale exchange rate published by xe.com.
- The specific business products on offer. These could be forward exchange contracts, limit orders and foreign currency accounts.
Our Verdict: HiFX have great exchange rates and a £0 fee structure which maximizes your overseas payments. You can also set up foreign currency accounts. This lets you keep the funds in your account in a foreign currency, only converting them when the time is right.
Buying a Property
Regardless of whether you are moving to Hong Kong and buying your first home or purchasing a property as an investment, you need to find a provider who has a strong presence in both countries. This will give you peace of mind and flexibility in what is usually a stressful time.
Our Verdict: OFX is the obvious choice for international property transactions. It has local account managers in each country and a fully licensed global network.
Sending Money Home
Western Union, for example, are the ideal choice for sending small amounts internationally, like gift money for friends or relatives. Other companies may waive transfer fees if you are sending a large amount. Discussing your specific needs with a money transfer specialist is critical to getting the right deal for you.
Payment for tuition can be a big expense. You need to pay tuition fees regularly which can be as much as £10,000 a year. But there are also multiple other expenses associated with studying. For the tuition fees and other larger payments you need to ensure that you shop around for the best exchange rates. For those smaller transfers make sure you keep a careful eye on the fee you are being charged.
Our Verdict: World First. A new company but one that is fast establishing itself as a great choice for students and their parents.
Tools to Help You to with your money transfers to Hong Kong
The Costs of Sending Money Between the UK and Hong Kong
Trying to figure out the complete cost of a money transfer can be difficult. It all depends on the transfer method and the fees involved; the margins aren’t always clear. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of the most common charges you’ll face when sending money from one account to another.
- The Transfer Fee – This is also called a Telegraphic Transfer (TT), a Wire Transfer or a Remittance Fee.
- Exchange Rate Margin – The difference between the rate you are getting and the wholesale rate you see on xe.com.
- Correspondent Bank Fees – The fees that your bank charges for guaranteeing your transfer gets to the right account. It is taken out when the funds arrive in the recipient’s account, it’s always very difficult to estimate it and impossible to reverse.
- Receiving Bank Fee – If you’re transferring foreign currency into an overseas bank then that bank will charge you a fee for doing so. For example, if you send Hong Kong Dollars to a British bank account, the British bank will charge you for converting it.
What are the options?
Banks in the UK have more competitive fees and better exchange rates than most other banks around the world as there is much more competition for this kind of service in the UK. Using a bank is the fastest way to get money between accounts.
If you’re sending less than £1,000 then this is a great option. The fees will be similar to those you’ll find at a bank but the exchange rate will be better. If the person you are sending money to also has a PayPal account then the process is even more convenient.
Money Transfer Company
Money transfer companies such as HiFX and OFX are definitely the cheapest option if you are sending anything over £1,000. They offer low or no fees and the exchange rates are better. It can take a little longer to make the transfer which is a disadvantage. You’ll initially have to set up an account with them. This process can be as little as ten minutes or as long as two days depending on the company and what they need to know. When you eventually make the transfer it can also take one day longer than a bank.
How to use a Money Transfer Company (instead of a Bank)
Transferring money to Hong Kong in this way is similar to using a bank but with a few distinct differences. Here are the basic online steps.
Setting things up (one off)
- Log in to their website and enter the details required. Make sure you have ID available.
- Wait for account approval, you’ll then receive a login and a password.
- Ensure you have the banking details of where you are sending the money and enter them. The receiver is usually known as the ‘Recipient’ or ‘Beneficiary’.
Transferring the Money
- Advise the amount you want to send and get a quote.
- Reconfirm the details, accept the exchange rate offered to you and confirm the amount in sterling.
- You will receive a confirmation of the deal. You will pay them in sterling before the amount is sent to Hong Kong.
Information You’ll Need Before Making Your Transfer
When sending funds overseas you will need the following information about the account you are sending to.
- Account name of the recipient
- Their address
- The SWIFT code of the bank
Banks can be picky and it is worth checking to ensure your details don’t have a digit or a letter out of place, just to ensure the process isn’t held up.
Here are a list of SWIFT codes for the larger Hong Kong banks.
- HSBC : HSBCHKHHHKH
- Bank of China (Hong Kong) : BKCHHKHH
- Hang Seng Bank : HASE HKHH
- Standard Chartered Bank : SCBLHKHHMAC
How Long Does it Take to Send Money to Hong Kong?
If you’re looking for speed then HSBC, Western Union and PayPal are your best options. Transfers take a matter of minutes. If you’re sending money to a bank account using a bank then the process will take 1-2 days. If you’re using a money transfer specialist that could increase to 2-3 days.
Is There a Minimum Transfer Amount?
Banks and PayPal do not have a minimum limit but some money transfer specialists do. Before using them make sure you check their minimum transfer amount.
Chan has been offered a promotion and a pay rise by his company based in London if he agrees to transfer to a position in Hong Kong. He has family in Hong Kong and he readily accepts the job.
He decides to rent his house in the UK. Additionally, he has some substantial assets that he would like to transfer cheaply and safely from his UK bank to one in Hong Kong.
He dismisses a bank to bank transfer as the fees are too high and the exchange rate he was offered would mean losing an unacceptable percentage of his hard earned money.
He uses a money transfer specialist. It takes longer to set up but he gets an exchange rate he is happy with, and best of all there are no fees to pay.