What is the best bank account for domestic helpers?

Many domestic helpers do not have bank accounts. But it’s a really good idea to set one up because having a bank account is a good way to make sure money can be set aside for savings and emergencies. It’s also a good way to keep a record of salary payments for both employers and domestic helpers. 

Opening a bank account in Hong Kong can be expensive, but there are some banks that offer no-frills, low-cost savings accounts. Employers are not required to accompany domestic helpers to the bank to open a bank account, but it may be helpful.

Before choosing a bank to open an account, consider your options and make sure you understand the fees, conditions and services that come along with the account.

What to look for

  • Low or no initial deposit: Some banks require an initial deposit to open an account.
  • Low or no minimum monthly balance requirement for the bank account: Some banks will charge fees if the balance of the account falls below a certain amount.
  • Free ATM Transaction service: Many banks provide ATM transaction services for free and charge fees for services or transactions that require you to talk to someone over-the-counter.
  • Low or no ATM card fees: Some banks will charge an annual ATM card fee, but many banks do not charge this.

What to bring

To open an account, a domestic helper may be asked to provide the following:

  • Passport
  • Hong Kong ID card
  • Foreign Domestic Helper employment contract

These requirements may vary from bank to bank.  Accounts can be opened during normal bank hours. Usual bank hours are Mon-Fri 9 am to 5 pm; Sat 9 am to 1 pm.

What to think about

  • Make sure you ask when you open your account if there are any fees and charges for different services. Every bank is different and it’s important you understand what you might be charged for.
  • Make sure to always keep your ATM card in a safe place. Never, ever share your pin code with anyone, not even if your employer or agency asks you to.
  • Enrich HK, an NGO providing financial and empowerment education domestic helpers, has more information about opening a bank account as a domestic helper in HongKong here. Enrich also provides financial management workshops for domestic helpers.

Last updated on July 7th, 2023

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