Reasons Why Hong Kong Banks May Reject Your Application

  • Post category:Hong Kong

Not everyone is guaranteed approval when applying for a bank account in Hong Kong. There are a number of reasons why Hong Kong bank may reject your application. 

In this article, we’ll explore the main reasons why Hong Kong banks may reject your application.

Hong Kong is a global financial hub and boasts a highly developed banking sector, with numerous local and international banks offering a wide range of financial products and services to both personal and corporate customers. 

Reasons Why Hong Kong Banks May Reject Your Application


Obtaining a bank account in Hong Kong can be a complex process, particularly for foreigners or individuals unfamiliar with the city. 

The banking sector in Hong Kong is highly regulated and has stringent criteria for account approval. 


A valid residency status is a must to open a bank account in Hong Kong. Foreigners who don’t possess a work or dependent visa may face difficulty in obtaining a bank account.

Credit Score

Banks in Hong Kong regularly check an applicant’s credit history to evaluate their financial stability and creditworthiness. If your credit history is poor, your application might be denied.

Employment Status

Banks in Hong Kong usually require proof of consistent employment or a stable source of income. Individuals with a history of unstable employment or those who are unemployed may have trouble obtaining a bank account.


Banks in Hong Kong have strict documentation standards, and even minor mistakes or missing documents can result in rejection. Accurate and current identification and residency documents are a must for opening a bank account.

Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Compliance

Banks in Hong Kong must comply with rigorous anti-money laundering regulations, and they may reject applications from individuals or companies deemed high-risk.

While opening a bank account in Hong Kong may be a challenging task, it is possible to increase your chances of approval with proper planning and preparation. Researching the requirements, understanding the criteria, and presenting complete and accurate documentation can improve the chances of success.


When it comes to opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong, there are several reasons why a bank may reject an applicant’s request. Here are a few concerns that the bank may reject the application;

Lack of Profitability:

When it comes to opening a bank account, banks primarily seek profit. While some may assume that strict risk management policies are the main reason for rejection, the truth is that profitability is the more significant factor. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority acknowledges this as well.

Banks are often hesitant to undergo their costly due diligence process for new businesses due to the uncertain outcome of the business’ success and profitability. This can result in banks making a commercial decision not to onboard startups.

Physical Location

Hong Kong’s banking sector has yet to fully embrace technology advancements. As a result, numerous entrepreneurs and digital nomads who have established offshore companies in Hong Kong may not necessarily be physically located in the city. Remote e-commerce operations can be run from anywhere in the world.

While certain banks may grant permission to appoint a legal representative in Hong Kong or hold a video conference with your local branch, this option is not always available.


Despite its reputation as a global hub, the process of opening a bank account in Hong Kong can be challenging, particularly for those who are not permanent residents or are of a specific nationality. 

Intricate Ownership Model

When you set up a bank account, the bank must carry out a customer identification procedure, referred to as KYC. This involves verifying a variety of information about the account holder and their business. The bank will need to get a clear understanding of the business activities, as well as perform background checks on the owners and directors.

If you’re in a business partnership with someone else and both parties own 50% of the company, the process is straightforward. However, when a company has multiple shareholders, with some of them being other companies, the identification process becomes more complex as the bank needs to trace the ownership chain and verify the owners of each company.

New Business Model

Banks need to know what a new business does to make sure it’s not doing anything bad like money laundering. Some old-fashioned banks don’t understand new types of businesses and think they might not make money for the bank, so they don’t take the time to learn more about them. Instead, they might just say no right away.


In conclusion, there are various reasons why a bank in Hong Kong may reject an individual’s application for a bank account. It’s crucial to ensure that all necessary documentation is in order, a credit score is maintained, and all relevant regulations are followed to increase the chances of having a successful application.