Fastest, cheapest USD/HKD FX for new arrival/grad student??

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  1. #1
    Mr Cinema

    Fastest, cheapest USD/HKD FX for new arrival/grad student??

    Hey everyone,

    I'm an American who is moving to HK from the PRC as a grad student on July 27. I'm going to need to exchange about 9K USD to HKD to sign my apartment lease, move-in, buy some furniture, etc.

    Now I'm in Ningbo, PRC, which is where I've been living/working for the past 3 years. My money is mostly in USD, in the USA. My apartment and all bills in Ningbo are in my employer's name.

    If I were to have a HK bank account, which I don't and seem unable to setup from Ningbo without a HK address, I could do a wire transfer from my account in the USA, right?

    Considering I need the money to rent the apartment, I need a Hong Kong address to open a Hong Kong bank account and I need an Hong Kong bank account to wire the money from the USA, what options do I have?

    I've read dozens of related threads but none regard an American expat coming from the PRC to study in HK from what I've seen.

    Please, if anyone could advise on this I'd be quite grateful!

    Best wishes,

    Nicholas


  2. #2

    Join Date
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    If your withdrawal limits are set up appropriately then you should be able to withdraw the money in HKD simply using your ATM card. Probably not US$9K in one go but certainly over a very few days.


  3. #3
    er2
    er2 is offline

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    Call your us bank, have your withdrawal limit set appropriately and use your atm card? At least for amounts like 2500 euro I found this to be the cheapest and most convenient option.
    Posted via Mobile Device(edit - sorry for the redundancy)

    Last edited by er2; 16-07-2009 at 08:24 PM.

  4. #4
    Mr Cinema

    Thanks for the ATM advice. Unfortunately my bank charges 3% for international transactions. It hurts just thinking about it.

    I'd like to avoid a 3% bite if possible, though in the end it is only US$270. Perhaps this is just part of the expense of my somewhat uninformed relocation.

    That said, is there another way?


  5. #5

    Join Date
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    That seems a bit high but that is likely due to the type of account you must have in the USA.

    A wire transfer for me from Canada was never close to that - $45 seems to the number I recall. Oh and it takes some 3 days.

    You could do like PDLM says do a series of quick withdrawals for a few days to get the cash for the flat.

    As a tourist here, I had to have some proof of my address back home in BC so I used my mobile phone bill and my passport. It has to be original bills, not copies but you could scan one and it looks original. You could probably just bring your PRC mobile bill or something like that but you will still have to do a wire transfer.

    If you do a wire transfer make sure you don't leave any information out or these dodos in the banks here will send it back.


  6. #6
    Mr Cinema

    Football16 - thanks for the detailed reply. Yeah, my account isn't very international friendly.

    As for the bill idea, that's not going to work because nothing is in my name.

    Any other ideas?


  7. #7
    Mr Cinema

    Thanks everyone for chiming in.

    I suppose I'll just use the ATM and take that 3% hit just this once.

    Then, once I have my flat I'll setup my HK accounts and do wire transfers thereafter.

    Not ideal, but a workable plan. Thanks again!


  8. #8

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    An alternative would be to transfer the money in the US (presumably that's free) to someone you trust, who is in HK, has a US account which doesn't charge fees (perhaps a HSBC Premier customer), and who could move the money across for you.


  9. #9
    Mr Cinema

    I'd be happy to do that but all of my trusted HK friends are either from Europe or are locals

    I think the ATM solution will work. I just got off the phone with my bank. Increasing the limit was a breeze, so it looks like I'll go that route.

    Now I'm thinking, bring the landlord to the bank to sign the lease and pay the rent, then immediately meet with a banker after I've paid the landlord and the lease has been finalized, using my newly acquired address to setup my HK accounts. Think I might be able to pull that off, having just signed the lease?

    Last edited by Mr Cinema; 16-07-2009 at 10:44 PM.

  10. #10

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    Yep you should be fine.


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