- Discover the cheaper ways to transfer USD to HKD (Hong Kong Dollar)
- Compare money transfer specialists vs US banks
- Learn what to look for when choosing the best way to transfer money
Do you need to send money to Hong Kong from the USA? It's easier than you think. Here is a brief guide to understanding how to transfer funds to recipients in Hong Kong.
In this guide
- Common reasons people transfer money overseas to Hong Kong
- Why you shouldn't send money overseas using your bank
- Is it safe to use a money transfer company?
- USD / HKD exchange rates
- What are the fees?
- Minimum and maximum transfer amounts
- Alternative ways to send money to Hong Kong
- Business vs. personal considerations
Common reasons people transfer money overseas to Hong Kong
According to Statista, digital remittances to Hong Kong are projected to reach $659 million in 2021 and will continue to grow by more than 12% per year over the next 5 years. People send money to Hong Kong for many reasons, including:
- Sending money to family.
- Purchasing real estate.
- Covering business expenses and cash flow shortfalls.
- Paying for university or school fees.
- Sending a charitable donation.
- Sending gifts for Golden Week or the lunar new year.
Why you shouldn't send money overseas using your bank
Sending money using a bank wire transfer is the least efficient and most expensive of all your options. Along with charging high margin rates and costly service fees, banks take longer than other service providers to complete your transaction.
If you're sending amounts under $5,000, it's costly for you to send a bank wire, with fees accounting for a substantial amount of the transfer. Typically your bank's transaction fees will be around $25 to $65, depending on the transfer amount. Upon receipt, the recipient will also have to pay on their end of the deal, with transaction costs varying from $15 to $30.
For smaller amounts, it's a better option to use e-wallet transfers or retail money transfer exchanges like WorldRemit, Wise, or Western Union.
Is it safe to use a money transfer company?
Retail money exchanges like MoneyGram and Western Union are entirely safe to use when sending money to Hong Kong. Check through the list of Finty-approved providers for your best options.
Our recommended providers give you the best margin rates, competitive transfer fees, and fast transfer times. Compare rates to find your preferred provider.
USD / HKD exchange rates
The exchange rate plays the biggest role in assessing your fees when sending money to Hong Kong. Banks and retail money transfer companies will quote you a "margin" rate above the "spot" price of the currency pair.
The margin rate can differ between financial service providers, with banks typically charging a higher margin rate. For example, if you want to send money to Hong Kong, the bank might quote you a spot rate of US$1 = HK$7.5 (this figure is not accurate and for example purposes only).
However, you don't actually receive that exchange rate as it's for banks only. Instead, you may get a rate of around US$1 = HK$7.25.
The bank or retail exchange takes the extra 25 cents as a commission on the deal. Typically banks are more expensive than retail exchanges, with e-wallets and crypto having the lowest margin and fees.
What are the fees?
When sending money to Hong Kong from the US, you'll have to pay a fee to the service provider. These fees are on top of the margin rate discussed earlier.
What is a typical fee?
If you're sending crypto or e-wallet services, you'll pay anything from 0.5% to 4.5% on the transaction. It depends on the vehicle or service provider. Crypto offers the lowest fees, followed by e-wallet services.
A bank wire transfer is the most expensive option. Your bank will charge you $25 to $65 on your side of the transaction while also charging the recipient around $15 to $30. Retail exchange and transfer services like MoneyGram or Western Union are more affordable than banks, but they do not make a direct transfer into the recipient's bank account.
Can fees be avoided?
You can avoid these costs by using crypto or e-wallet services for your transactions. Typically these vehicles offer you the most affordable transaction fees and minimal margin rates but users should be familiar and comfortable receiving their funds through these channels.
As to online transfer services, the rates differ between companies. It's important to compare rates before finalizing your preferred method for sending money from the US to Hong Kong.
Minimum and maximum transfer amounts
When transferring money through the bank, you'll pay the highest fees. However, if you're sending more than $7,000 to a recipient in Hong Kong, a wire transfer is your best option. Typically, retail exchange and transfer services like MoneyGram have limits between $7,000 to $10,000 for sending money overseas.
Some transfer services may also have transaction minimums of $100 or more to transfer funds.
Alternative ways to send money to Hong Kong
If you don't want to use a bank wire or retail money exchange and transfer service like Western Union, you have other options.
E-wallets are popular options, and pay cards are a great choice for smaller amounts. WeChat Pay, Alipay and cryptocurrency are gaining popularity due to the low transaction fees and fast transfer times.
Business vs. personal considerations
If you're sending money from America to Hong Kong, you'll need to comply with international money laundering legislation. KYC and AML rules apply to both private persons and businesses.
Therefore, if you send a person from your business to collect a transfer from Western Union, that person will have to leave their identity details and cellphone number when collecting the cash.
How can I fund my money transfer?
You can use e-wallet services like Alipay, WeChat Pay, Google Pay, or Apple Pay. Retail exchange and transfer services like Western Union are popular options, as are bank wire transfers.
How fast can my money transfer be sent to Hong Kong?
Sending a wire transfer from the US to Hong Kong can take up to 5 days to reflect in the recipient's nominated bank account. Retail exchange and transfer services are faster, taking between one to three days. Crypto and e-wallets are the fastest options, with the money reflecting in a few minutes to a few hours after completing the transaction.
What are the money collection options?
Sending money through retail money exchange and transfer services, like Wise or Western Union, means the recipient can collect the money from a partner location in Hong Kong. Check their websites for locations near you.
Are there any tax considerations?
If you're sending money to Hong Kong from America, you'll have to check with your CPA regarding the tax implications of the transaction. If you're sending significant amounts of over $15,000 over the course of a year, you may incur a tax obligation.