Banking concerns

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  1. #1

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    Banking concerns

    so i went to open a bank account today....OMFG do they suck big time here.

    i thought HK was an international city...no?

    most of the banks do not accept US checks for deposit. The ones that do charge a fee for deposit called "handeling fee".

    wtf are they handling? ive worked in a bank before...and trust me...there aint nothin to handle...


    so then i ask about sending money to US....they wont let me write checks cause they dont have checking accounts.....and they charge another fee to withdraw as check.

    wtf they want me to do? mail a stack of cash?

    they just keep telling me that i can withdraw money from ATM for free....

    im like....well i would hope so...

    geez....so what is the best alternative to something close to a normal bank?

    i will be paid from HK office, but have a bank account in USA, and bills to pay in USA. So normally i have my USA bank account (citibank) on autopilot as it does automatic bill pay every month.

    But i will need to feed the beast too. But i also will need to withdraw money here frequently.

    I dont want any HK bank, but i need one to open a HK visa card inorder to do auto pay with the bills here.

    did i make sense?


  2. #2

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    Not sure if I am with you 100% but if you register your US banking account with a form available on the HSBC website, (print out then take it in) then you can do internet transfers each month. Then pay your bills back home from your US account? Is that what you mean? Not sure what the charges are though, I just figured that was the only way to do it so I don't ask questions I don't want the answers to!


  3. #3

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    yeah,

    mefinks simplest solution is as hbrand says, register ur US account with HSBC for internet transfers. they charge $100HK per transfer regardless of size of transfer. at the receiving end, they also charge a few bucks as international transfer fees. i regularly transfer money from HSBC account to Aussie bank account, and HSBC charges $100 from the original account, and Aussie bank takes out about $6-8 Aussies from the receiving account.

    I use Aussie VISA card for purchases in HK and a lot of direct debits in Oz etc. then each month transfer $$ to pay it off by doing internet transfers as above. but u must pre-register the account with HSBC at a branch, in person, from memory.

    once your money is in US account, u should be able to transfer it anywhere...

    re putting money into HK account, why not open account, then do international transfer or western union transfer from US account.. or something like that? cant be too hard... but they will charge an incoming fee...

    Last edited by dropdedfwed; 07-12-2005 at 04:36 PM.

  4. #4

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    >> wtf are they handling? ive worked in a bank before...and trust me...there aint nothin to handle...
    >> most of the banks do not accept US checks for deposit. The ones that do charge a fee for deposit called "handeling fee".

    Ok. For once ... this is a wind up.

    If you've worked for a bank, you know that a bank is not under obligation to take a check, specially US$ checks that have been issued from US$ checking accounts.

    US Federal laws come into play and one of them is that the issuing bank can decline a check several months after the money has been paid if they discover fraud. The statute of limitations is unlimited as far as I know for US government checks.

    Overseas banks take a fair amount of risk under that law by accepting a check from an unknown party. You could technically deposit forged or fraudulent checks and several months later during audits etc .. the money can be claimed back by the issuer / issuing bank (say you modified a check from a company and it was caught in an audit a month or two after it was cleared).

    HSBC is the toughest in town to deal with.

    >> What are they handling?

    If they're compliant with Check 21, the handling fees is paying for the compliance and the technology.

    If they're not compliant with Check 21, the check has to be sent into the federal clearing systems and processed.

    Thanks to anal US money laundering laws, the amount of work done increases if the check is over $10K.

    >> but have a bank account in USA, and bills to pay in USA

    Transfer the money electronically via online banking. HSBC's powervantage account has the facility to transfer overseas in a number of currencies.

    By the way, have you EVER tried to deposit a Hong Kong dollar check at your local bank in the US? Have you tried to get them to issue you a HKD check? Or wait, even something unexotic as a EUR check?

    For someone who claims to have worked for a bank... there is a LOT of ignorance about how banks work. At the end of the day, they're not a charity and your exotic demands either have to be backed by a well funded account or charges that they tell you up front (if you bothered to read their charges / rates) before you open an account.

    PLEASE .. don't get me started about the whole "hong kong is not an international city" .. unlike anywhere that I've lived in the US (and I've lived in many places), I can walk into a bank with an overseas check and actually expect them to recognise the currency and accept it, even if its grudgingly ...


  5. #5

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    I don't understand the problem - if you are paid in HK then surely that will be electronically into your Hong Kong bank account. You then simply go online and initiate a transfer to your US bank account. With HSBC at least you will need to sign a paper form once at the beginning of this process to open up your HSBC online account for overseas online transfers.

    Why do you want to involve cheques in the process? That is a pretty antiquated technology these days.


  6. #6

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    i think i was misunderstood...

    im not syaing HK is not an international city....more or less complaining about the banking here...

    as for my "ignorance"-- the bank I worked for i was a teller / banker. here are differences:


    1. USA bank - you could deposit any currency check from anywhere in the world. no fees.
    HK bank - only deposit check from HK. this includes official government backed bank checks. the ones that do accept these charge a fee.

    2. USA bank - You could mail in your deposits from anywhere in the world. just mail them to central processing plant or local branch.
    HK bank - you cant mail in deposit.

    3. USA bank - You could request an international draft for a small fee, or request an official bank check in local currency for free.
    HK bank - any check costs a fee.

    4. USA bank - you can setup free bill payments, so that you sign online and type in dollar amount and payee and there it goes. you can also set up your external bank accounts or payees on your own at any time.
    HK bank - you need to have all the information and set it up with banker in person, and it costs a fee for this service.

    5. USA bank - you can use a teller or ATM at no fee.
    HK bank - ATM use is free, but anything you do at teller window will cost a fee.



    these are just a few examples. im not saying usa is great in any way, i love HK much more.
    and im only frustrated with the crappy banking services here.

    the reason i was suggesting checks is that it is cheaper than paying for said wire transfer / online transfer according to these fees.


  7. #7

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    oh...and number 2 was handy...
    this method avoids all fees.

    you set up a bill payment from bank a with the payee as your name and account number with bank b address.

    the bill pay is free, and the deposit is free.

    there an interbank transfer for free


  8. #8

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    1 through 3 : the fundamental problem is that cheques are an obsolete technology in Hong Kong. Paying by cheques here is like going into a US bank and insisting that they convert dollar bills into the underlying "real money" (i.e. gold) that they represent. It can probably be done, but it ain't going to be easy.

    4. Simply not true - I set up online payments of all sorts free of charge on a regular basis. All you have to do manually, once, is set the limits on what you will wish to transfer by each means (this is there as a security check / fraud limitation device).

    5. I have never paid anything for teller service in my 6 years in Hong Kong. But this is because the bank has a significant amount of my business. They aren't a charity - how would you like them to make enough money from you to support their business?


  9. #9

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    This is what I have done with my banking.

    1) Pay all bills in the US with my Citi Mastercard

    2) Balance Transfer entire bill from Mastercard to AMEX Starwood

    3) to Avoid all fees, I simply go to the AMEX office here and do a payment for the exact same amount as my transfer. They charge $20HK for doing this.

    I have all of my bills paid for in the US and I only spend 20HK to do so.

    C

    Last edited by mrcheese321; 07-12-2005 at 07:09 PM.

  10. #10

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    PDLM,

    You are never charged in America for seeing a teller. Banks make money off of investing the money that you deposit with them. They make so much in fact that it isn't necessary for them to charge their depositors to see someone inside of the company that they are "loaning" money to.

    I know that part of the problem is that the interest rate here is so low and the savings rate is so high. There is so much money floating around banks in HK because of the high savings rate and the cultural difference in that most Asians put their savings in the bank, where most Americans put their money in Mutual Funds or Stocks. Here it isn't necessary to try and attract customers as much by giving higher interest and good service. In America, banks need depositors because we have so many alternatives. To acomplish this, they give very good service and low charges.


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