Guide to opening a foreign bank account: Getting your first official foreign bank card from scratch – HSBC Global Account Full Guide

Original Author: Digital Identity

Original Source: medium

This article aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of opening an account with HSBC, covering many terms related to offshore bank accounts. However, I want to emphasize that this article is not objective reporting and is not intended to be so. It has not received any advertising fees from HSBC Bank nor is it an intermediary promotion, and there are no advertising links in it. In addition, this article will not teach you to engage in any fraudulent behavior, nor can it replace you in opening any bank account.

Please note that this article does not include the situation where HSBC in some regions cannot accept applications from non-local residents or cannot use Chinese ID cards/passports or Hong Kong ID cards for applications.

Most of the content of this article is based on my personal experience of applying for a card and daily use.

Please be prepared for some reading time, as this article may be relatively long. This article is not suitable for money laundering enthusiasts, black-gray industry practitioners, KYC data forgers, and those who want to directly cash out cryptocurrencies through HSBC.


Today, in a world that is increasingly interconnected, having an overseas bank card is becoming more and more important. Whether it is traveling abroad, binding the most common Apple ID foreign accounts, or opening the currently popular ChatGPT Plus, overseas bank cards have become an essential tool in people’s daily lives. Among the many overseas banks, HSBC, as one of the world’s leading financial institutions, is highly regarded for its excellent (expensive) service quality and extensive global network.

However, for many people, obtaining their first formal overseas bank card may be a seemingly cumbersome task. From choosing the right bank, understanding the account opening process, to overcoming various difficulties, this process may be daunting. In this article, I will share with you the strategy of opening an offshore bank account, especially the detailed record of opening a global account with HSBC.

This article will provide you with a one-stop guide, from basic account opening to talking about opening a credit card. Next, let us explore how to get your first formal overseas bank card from scratch and understand the whole process of opening a global account with HSBC.

Noun Explanation

IBC: International Business Centre. This is a service provided by HSBC Bank to provide cross-border business support and solutions to customers. Each location will have its own IBC.

RM: RM (Relationship Manager) is the exclusive banking service personnel designated by HSBC Bank for its high net worth individual clients or corporate clients. They are the main contact between the customer and the bank, responsible for managing the customer’s banking relationship and providing personalized financial solutions.

DD: US only. “Direct Deposit” is a way to electronically deposit funds directly into an individual or business bank account without the need for paper checks or cash. It is widely used in scenarios such as wage payments, government benefits, retirement benefits, and other financial subsidies.

ACH: ACH is an electronic payment network and processing system in the United States. ACH is a centralized electronic payment system used to process batch low-value payment transactions such as direct deposits, direct payments, electronic checks, and electronic transfers. It allows individuals, businesses, and governments to transfer funds electronically.

FPS (Faster Payment System): FPS in Hong Kong is a real-time payment system jointly developed by the Hong Kong government and the Hong Kong banking industry. Launched in 2018, it aims to provide fast, secure, and convenient cross-bank payment services. FPS allows individuals and businesses to make payments and transfers in real-time within Hong Kong, and can process transfers between individuals, merchants, and bill payments.

FPS (Faster Payments Service): The UK’s FPS is a real-time payment system regulated by the UK Payments System Regulator. Launched in 2008, it aims to provide 24/7 real-time payment services for instant transfers between individuals and businesses. The UK’s FPS allows individuals to make fast payments and transfers through channels such as mobile apps, online banking, and telephone banking.

GT: (HSBC Global Transfer) allows HSBC Bank customers to transfer funds quickly and conveniently between HSBC Bank accounts in different countries. The important reason why this feature of HSBC is irreplaceable is that only HSBC can achieve real-time bank transfers between global accounts.

GMA: EXBlockingT/UK/UAE/USA only. HSBC Global Money Account is a service provided by HSBC Bank to provide customers with a solution for global currency account management. This service has very poor exchange rates in areas other than the UK and is not recommended for daily use for currency exchange.

HSBC Premier offers a range of exclusive services and privileges, and if you don’t open a Premier account, you will miss out on most of the features and benefits provided by HSBC. HSBC adheres to the concept of “One Place, Global Excellence,” and as long as one account meets the requirements, no management fees will be charged for all accounts worldwide.

Account opening requirements

HSBC has multiple branches around the world. You can find out whether there is a branch in your country by visiting this link. If you are outside mainland China and there is an HSBC branch in your local area, you can go directly to the local branch to open the corresponding HSBC account and request that IBC open HSBC accounts in other regions for you as well.

Currently, the branches in mainland China are shown in the following figure:

However, if you are in mainland China, it makes no sense to only open an HSBC Bank (China) account, because HSBC Bank (China) is essentially a domestic bank.

Of course, in today’s China, where bank card quotas are constantly being restricted (even normal first-class cards cannot be opened, and most cards have daily quotas of only one to two thousand yuan), the minimum daily transfer amount for HSBC Bank (China) is 200,000 to 1 million yuan, and if it is still not enough, you can ask the RM to add quota, which is very suitable for people who are suffering from quota restrictions.

If you need to make overseas transfers or purchases, you must open an HSBC account at a non-Chinese branch.

Also, all transfers are still subject to the annual foreign exchange limit of $50,000 in mainland China, and HSBC China cannot directly increase your foreign exchange remittance limit.

Account opening strategies in various regions

Key points:

If you have money: go to an HSBC CN branch and deposit 500,000 yuan, then ask your RM to open accounts in other places for you / deposit 50,000 pounds online at HSBC ExBlockingt

If you don’t have money: go to an HSBC ONE branch in Hong Kong / apply online to open an HSBC Day To Day account in Australia

If you’re willing to put in the effort: deposit $5,000 per month in an HSBC account in the United States / transfer $9,000 AUD per month in an HSBC account in Australia /

HSBC CN HSBC Bank (China)

Currently, HSBC Wealth Management Connect has gradually been shut down in mainland China. The starting point for ordinary people to open an account is HSBC Premier, but the threshold required by HSBC Premier in mainland China is equivalent to RMB 500,000 per month. If the requirement is not met, a monthly account management fee of RMB 300 will be charged. However, you can avoid the handling fee by meeting the requirements of HSBC Premier in other regions. (Of course, you can also keep the account with one cent to prevent him from charging the management fee, and you will be able to close the account if you have not moved the account for more than a year.)

Currently, some intermediaries on Taobao are fraudulent, claiming that only ten thousand yuan needs to be deposited or 30,000 yuan of monthly flow transfer is required to open HSBC Premier. Their fraudulent principle is through HSBC’s employee plan policy. It is not recommended to find intermediaries to falsify opening accounts because they will give you a series of false labels, and they will make fake social security and work certificates for you. If discovered by HSBC, the employee plan will be cancelled at best, and at worst it will cause global account closure.

HSBC China must be opened offline. Due to HSBC’s cumbersome account opening process, it takes at least 1-2 hours to open an account each time. Please make an appointment on the official website before opening an account:

After the account is opened, you will be immediately assigned an RM, and you can ask the RM for any questions, whether it is daily use or opening other HSBC accounts overseas. (Some RMs have poor professionalism, so you can check the relevant information on the HSBC official website and then confirm with the RM.)

It is not recommended to buy HSBC China’s wealth management products (although the RM will tirelessly promote them). The small currency fund I bought at HSBC China has not yet returned.

Credit Card : HSBC China adopts a one-person-one-credit card system for life, but currently HSBC China’s credit card cost-effectiveness is relatively poor. The only one worth applying for is the HSBC Premier Travel Credit Card, which can be bound to UnionPay QuickPass while enjoying HSBC’s rights and interests and enjoy UnionPay Diamond benefits.

Special: If you only want to open a second-tier account, do not want to pay any management fees, and there is no HSBC branch in the local area, you can directly scan the QR code to open an HSBC second-tier account through this link: However, in 2023, you may need to bind a first-tier card of Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank to open it. If you have to complain and open an account by finding fault, HSBC will only open a basic account for you, and maybe send you a passbook. Any operation requires going to the branch counter, which is not recommended.

HSBC HK – Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation

As one of the three issuing banks in Hong Kong, HSBC HK can even be considered a quasi-central bank of Hong Kong. Moreover, after customs clearance in Hong Kong, opening an account only requires carrying your ID card, Hong Kong/Macau pass, and the entry ticket. There is no need to find an intermediary to open an account.

Of course, for insurance purposes, you can also bring proof of address (if you don’t have it, call the CMB credit card customer service to have a paper bill sent to your home, CMB credit card bills have addresses that can be used as proof of address).

The account that does not charge management fees is called HSBC One. If you do not want to pay any management fees, it is highly recommended to open this account. People who cannot come to Hong Kong can first open Premier in China and then downgrade to One, and then close the HSBC account in China, leaving only HSBC One. This level of account is sufficient to bind Apple ID/Google Play payments in the Hong Kong region, open AliBlockingy HK/Wechat Blockingy HK, and invest in Hong Kong and US stocks.

The accounts that require management fees are HSBC Premier and Jade.

The standard for Premier is HKD 1,000,000, and the standard for Jade is HKD 7,800,000.

Currently, there are four ways to open an account at HSBC HK:

  1. Apply through the domestic IBC: After opening HSBC Premier in China, contact the RM to open HSBC Premier in Hong Kong and can only open Premier. The RM will ask you to submit your ID card, Hong Kong/Macau pass or passport. Generally, you can open an account after waiting for a month.

  2. Apply through another regional IBC: Same as above, the only difference is that other regions will not allow you to use a Hong Kong/Macau pass to open an account, and will require you to fill in a local tax ID number (such as an SSN in the United States).

  3. Apply online through the HSBC HK mobile app: This method is only available to HKID holders. If you live in Hong Kong, you will definitely be more familiar with HSBC than I am, and I will not introduce it here.

  4. Apply in person at a Hong Kong branch: It is recommended to make an appointment at the branch in advance to avoid the embarrassment of waiting in line on site. Currently, there are a lot of people waiting in line after customs clearance in Hong Kong, and it is common to wait for 3 hours for a spot. Many Hong Kong branches will explicitly refuse to open accounts for mainlanders, so please do not make a scene at the branch and learn to respect others. The bank does not owe you money and can refuse your account opening request without reason. If one branch does not work, go to another one to open an account. If it really doesn’t work, buy a cheap Hong Kong insurance policy. There will always be a branch willing to open an account for you. When opening an account, please make it clear whether you want HSBC One or Premier.

Opening a Hong Kong bank account is a strict process that can take around two hours. Please be patient as the staff conducts KYC and other checks on you. There is no way to open an account and receive a card on the spot like you can in China.

There is no strong connection between the Hong Kong account and the card itself. If the branch does not have a pre-made card face, you may not be able to receive the card on the spot. The ATM cards are all UnionPay cards. After opening an account, you can apply for a Mastercard debit card directly through the app or website. The card supports 12 currencies and has no currency conversion fees. Any level of account can apply. The application link is:

However, the delivery method is regular mail rather than the popular express delivery in mainland China. It may be difficult to receive regular mail at most mainland addresses, so it is recommended to call customer service and change the delivery method to DHL or registered mail.

Credit card:

The application link is:

Non-HKID holders obtaining a credit card is a mystery. You might be able to get a card without depositing any money, or you might not be able to get a card even after depositing hundreds of thousands.

When applying for a Premier account, there is an option in the form to choose whether you need a Premier credit card. If you need a Hong Kong credit card, be sure to check this option (but it may not necessarily result in getting a card; not checking it ensures that you will not get a card). Otherwise, you will need to have HKD 1,000,000 to get a card later.

There are many types of credit cards in Hong Kong, and you can accumulate Hong Kong credit records. Each card has an independent credit limit, and one person can apply for multiple cards, regardless of their mainland identity. After establishing a credit record, you can easily apply for AMEX HK later.

Pluse, pictured below, is a recommended card. It is a UnionPay dual-currency card that can be linked to UnionPay for normal consumption on the mainland and can be used to spend RMB. It has extremely high cashback and beats any credit card in China. Most cards offer an HKD 800 welcome bonus.

All HSBC HK credit cards have FTF (foreign transaction fees), so it is not recommended to pay bills in a currency other than Hong Kong dollars. All HSBC HK cards can be linked to WeChat and Alipay for payments made in mainland China.

When applying for a credit card, you will be asked to upload proof of income or employment. However, HSBC HK does not recognize records from mainland China, so you can choose not to submit them.


Currently, only Premier accounts are relatively easy to open with HSBC US. All levels below Premier have been sold and cannot be opened again.

The requirements to meet are as follows:

  • Maintain a minimum balance of $75,000 or more in the account

  • At least $5,000 in total direct deposits (DD) per month

If you do not meet the requirements, you will be charged a $50 maintenance fee each month.

Currently, HSBC US has no strict requirements for DD, so you can directly transfer $5,000 per month from a third-party via ACH and be exempt from the global Premier management fee. Note that other methods such as wire transfers will not be considered DD.

Opening methods:

  1. Apply at a HSBC US branch in person

  2. Apply through a local IBC, which will require you to submit a US long-term visa

  3. Apply directly on the HSBC US website. Before applying, you are required to have a HSBC account in any other part of the world. Apply at:

When applying, you can use a complete set of Chinese materials to apply, and fill in the reason for application truthfully. If your online application is instantly rejected, try changing the browser language to English and applying with a US IP. After submitting your application, there are two possibilities: either your account will be opened successfully and your card will be sent to your address within one to two weeks, or you will need to have a video call with a representative who will ask you to provide your passport and other information. If you do not speak English, you can request a free Chinese translation service.

After opening your account, your card will be sent to you by regular mail. If you prefer, you can call HSBC US to apply for DHL delivery.

The debit card’s card organization is Mastercard. After receiving it, you can directly link it to Apple Pay and a US Apple ID, or successfully pay with ChatGPT Plus, without any risk of being banned.

Credit card:

Apply here:

If you are rejected for an online application, it is recommended to apply via phone. Contact information:

Please note that you may be required to upload your salary statement. Mainland salary statements are recognized in the US, but must be translated into English.

Currently, due to previous business sales, there are only two credit cards available in the US. Fortunately, the new user reward is great (new user rewards points can be directly exchanged for $300), and the credit limit is independent. The Elite card is still a metal card, and the benefits that come with it can completely cover the annual fee. It also allows you to accumulate US credit, and then apply for AMEX US (you need to rent a US address and change your address to the US first).

After receiving the credit card, you can also directly request to have it sent back to your country via DHL. It should be emphasized that credit cannot be accumulated with a domestic address, and you need to change it to a US address to accumulate credit. If you do not consider applying for AMEX US, you do not need to use a US address.

HSBC SG Singapore HSBC

The meaning of opening an account here is generally for collecting stamps and completing the achievement of opening an account in this location. Or for high net worth individuals to transfer assets. The advantage is that HSBC SG’s global telegraphic transfer is currently free.

Non-Singaporean residents can only open Premier and above accounts, and the qualification criteria is to maintain at least SGD 200,000 or more in deposit balance.

Account opening methods:

  • Apply through the mainland RM to apply for IBC: After contacting you, they will call you and ask you the reason for opening an account, and then send you an email to conduct a ZOOM meeting. The account opening time is extremely long, ranging from 20 to 50 days, and it generally will not refuse to open an account. Please be patient.

  • Apply online directly (China mainland is not in the online application list):

Credit card: The currency is SGD, with FTF, and non-high net worth individuals need to deposit 50,000 to 100,000 new coins to get the credit card. This will not be discussed further here.

HSBC AU HSBC Australia

Previously, you could apply directly through the official website without verifying your address, only providing your passport and selfie. However, some irresponsible bloggers have posted some incorrect tutorials that encourage high-risk operations, such as using accounts with different names to make large transfers, setting up Wise to receive intermediary fees, cashing in cryptocurrencies, and money laundering. Therefore, this location has now been abused by many Chinese people. Starting from May 2023, if you apply according to these tutorials, you will be rejected 100% of the time.

Currently, the application requirements in this region are very strict. Non-local residents must apply through the local International Bank Card Center (IBC) or in person at an Australian branch.

Like HK, this region also has fee-free accounts called the Day to Day Account, which can be used for all overseas banking operations after application.

Moreover, becoming a Premier customer in this region is very easy, requiring only a monthly balance of AUD 9,000 (if you transfer AUD 100 for 90 consecutive months, the bank is likely to close your account).

Ways to apply:

  • Apply through HK IBC. Applying through mainland IBC requires a visa of 6 months or more.

  • Online application, which has a high failure rate. Before applying, you need to have an HSBC account in Australia or anywhere else in the world. (The application portal is now closed.)

  • HK IBC online application portal: Select “I am in HK and want to open an account in Australia.”

Credit card: Credit cards in this region are only available to local residents, so they will not be discussed further.

HSBC ExBlockingT Jersey

HSBC ExBlockingT is a department of HSBC Bank that specializes in providing global banking services, investments, and financial planning to customers who reside or work overseas, aiming to meet their cross-border financial needs.

This is the easiest HSBC to apply for, and the entire process can be done online:

Earlier, many people were attracted by the opening bonus of up to £250, but now you need to meet certain conditions to receive the bonus.

The conditions are:

  • Saving or investing at least £50,000 (or equivalent currency) within 3 months after opening your HSBC ExBlockingT account.

  • An annual salary of at least £100,000 (or equivalent currency).

  • Already a customer of HSBC Premier in another country or region.

He will not close your account if you do not deposit 50,000 pounds within three months. As long as you have HSBC Premier in another region, you can open an account there even if you don’t have HSBC in that region. After opening an account, you can apply for a GMA card, which supports many currencies and is suitable as a daily consumption card substitute.

However, the risk control in that region is probably the highest in the HSBC group, and it is very easy to close the account. It is not recommended for daily high-frequency transfers, otherwise you will end up with an account closure in that region and even globally.

Credit Card: The credit card in that region requires a notarized passport and address, and the currency is GBP. The benefit is that there are unlimited airport VIP lounges and you can accumulate UK credit by changing your address to the UK. You can find HSBC branches in mainland or Hong Kong to notarize the passport and send it to EXBlockingT’s email, or find a lawyer to notarize it, which will not be discussed here.


HSBC UK is also the headquarters of HSBC and enjoys a good reputation and wide popularity as an important bank in the UK. Its long history and global business network provide strong support for customers. However, it is also very easy to have an account closure in that region and even globally.

Ways to open an account:

  • Through the Hong Kong IBC online application portal: Select the UK when you are in Hong Kong. You may be asked to provide a Hong Kong tax number, and your application may be terminated if you cannot provide it. It’s all about luck.

  • Apply through a domestic RM to contact IBC: You may be required to provide a UK visa and tourist visas are not accepted.

  • Directly apply online: You need a UK local address or European address, and a UK credit record is required for the UK address. It is recommended to have a credit record of more than one year before applying. Online application address:

After opening the account, please apply for a GMA card because the GMA exchange rate in that region is the best in the HSBC group around the world.

Credit Card: The credit card in that region is only available to people with a UK credit record, which will not be discussed here.


HSBC CA will require you to provide a reason for opening an account if you only hold a Mainland China passport. Writing “tourism” may result in rejection, so you may want to try applying through Hong Kong IBC. It is difficult for holders of Mainland China passports to apply for accounts at this location, and HSBC Canada has confirmed that it will be sold. This article does not discuss this location in detail, but opening an account can earn you a reward of 500 Canadian dollars.

Online application link:


HSBC Macau cannot be applied for online or through IBC. You must visit a branch in Macau in person. When applying, you may be asked to buy insurance or show a Macau blue card work permit. Whether you can successfully open an account depends entirely on your communication with the local teller. In addition, HSBC MO is a very strange existence, with online banking and app versions lagging behind those of other HSBC locations. Funds returned to Mainland China from MO may be required to provide proof of funds by China, and even if you manage to open an account, it is not very useful in Macau itself, and you can’t even bind it to Macau’s m Blockingy. If you want to challenge yourself and try to open an account there, you can give it a try.


Currently, only people who reside in Europe and have a local long-term visa can apply, or can apply through Hong Kong IBC. It is difficult for holders of Mainland China passports to apply for accounts at this location, and HSBC France has confirmed that it will be sold. This article does not discuss this location in detail.


Like HSBC CN, you need to apply offline and have local identification. The chance of non-TW residents being able to open an account is infinitely close to 0, so no discussion will be made here.

HSBC Long-term Personal Use Experience and Critique

  • HSBC’s Global Excellence Service is really commendable, and you can enjoy various conveniences by depositing or meeting the requirements in one place. The account opened through IBC will automatically associate the main account with the IBC local account, but the account opened online requires you to call to complete the main account binding.

  • HSBC’s global transfer is fast and free

  • Thanks to HSBC for accumulating American credit for me and applying for American cards, making digital payments unimpeded in my life.

  • The threshold for the Excellent Wealth Management level may be slightly higher for ordinary users, although their target audience for Excellent Wealth Management is not ordinary people.

  • It is hoped that stricter supervision will be carried out on the use of intermediaries to falsify, so as not to bring unnecessary troubles to normal users.

  • As a large bank, there is no function to reset the PIN online, and everything needs to be done by phone, which is inconvenient in some ways.

  • HSBC is indeed a global bank, and compared with other banks that claim to be global banks, the degree of global integration is poor, and it is impossible to achieve global cloud opening or transfer in seconds.

  • Have you considered changing the card face back to a lion’s head? The card face design in some areas is not very attractive with just a big logo, although the lion’s head has been a symbol for many years.

  • HSBC’s exchange rate is indeed not ideal, and every time you need to exchange it elsewhere before transferring it to HSBC, why charge for such a small exchange rate difference?

  • When will the APP trading dynamic push function be realized? It’s already 2023, and even the push function hasn’t been implemented.

Note: Blocking all articles only represents the author’s point of view and does not constitute investment advice
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