Neat HK: A Solution for the Hong Kong Banking Nightmare? Reviewing Neat – Online HK Business Banking & Connect Your Paypal/Stripe

  • banking2018
  • CBM2018-Gold

Looking for a Hong Kong online business bank account that you can connect your Paypal and Stripe / Braintree merchant account to? Wouldn’t that be amazing, without the utter nightmare Hong Kong business owners are going through now begging these archaic banks to allow them to deposit their money.

Here at Global From Asia – we know the pain our entrepreneur and hard working global business owners have been going through. As digital nomads and e-commerce sellers and FBA business owners, we feel the pain ourselves. This is why our clients for our corporate services enjoy working with us – we understand you.

And we know the biggest pain point for almost 2 years now has been – such a basic need – a business bank account solution in Hong Kong.

One with credit cards – for you and your staff. One that can link to your Paypal and Stripe.

We’ve been testing so many and talking to so many – and today we’re talking about one we’ve been following for years.

Neat.HK Business Bank Alternative for Online Business Owners

So I am focusing today on their business product – Neat Business Account (technically not a bank, but a HK banking alternative). I know exactly what you guys are looking for – and here is a list of their features:

* Unique Account / IBAN number – you will have your own dedicated account number with Standard Chartered. This isn’t like some other solutions where you have a sub-account and need to put in your TT (telegraphic transfer) banking notes your sub-account number. This is a dedicated account number ONLY FOR YOU And your business. I’m not sure the technical way they got this – but this is the amazing part – that allows you to do the following

* Connect /Verify your Paypal Hong Kong – we have a Paypal Hong Kong guide that gets a lot of attention on how to verify your Paypal. You need a “unique” or dedicated IBAN number. This Neat Hong Kong business solution give you that – unlike other online / virtual banking solutions I have come across.

* Connect / Verify your Stripe HK or Braintree merchant account – similar to Paypal, you need a unique bank account in your company name in order to get Stripe and any other merchant account setup. Don’t worry – this will work here too. We have a full list of merchant account comparison here that is popular as well.

* Issue Company credit cards – You can order credit cards! Yes – finally – you can see a company credit card in your company name here in HK without having to sign your life away and deposit your life savings! Seriously, readers know it is hard to get a Hong Kong credit card.

* Deposit paper checks – many ask how to deposit checks (yes, Hong Kong does still use quite a bit of paper checks). This works too. You need to go to Standard Chartered Bank – in person – and deposit. Can’t do it at the ATM.

* English, Online Banking – and of course, it has online banking. Well, that is actually something we need to write as a bullet point, as some banks we are forced to work with in our partner corporate services agency, don’t have online banking. Or it takes forever to get issued. And the banking is in English.

I think this has huge potential, and I may finally be able to rest well at night when we get new clients for a Hong Kong company (read our Hong Kong registration guide here) setup and – yes – their request to get a local HK bank solution (technically we can’t say bank, but instead banking alternative).

Big Plus – Don’t Need To Come To Hong Kong To Apply

Here is the big – big one – that I know our readers at Global From Asia will love – you can apply and get approved online. So now, once we get this moving smoother – we can help clients open a HK company and HK bank financial solution without needing to fly here.

Can you say…

Game changer!?!

Wow, Hong Kong may be back open for business. It’s been a rocky road since March 2016 but we may be out of the ice age and entering normal business climate.

How I Came Across Neat

I met David Rosa, the founder of Neat.hk a couple years ago (approximately early/mid 2016) when they were in their early stages. He visited me in my TST office and we chatted about the struggles of banking in Hong Kong and Asia in general. I had been doing my podcast already for a couple years then and was helping clients open up companies and banking. I explained the utter nightmare it was to beg a bank like HSBC to please let us deposit money with them.

At that time Neat was focused on the consumer banking side (individual accounts) but he said once that was going he’d work on their business banking solution and let me know.

I also have gotten to know others on his team, and he had been merging with other local Hong Kong fintech startups I had been following.

It’s true – Global From Asia is a great blog and media source for Fintech in Hong Kong and Asia. So I am always getting startups trying to solve this nightmare banking issue find me and send me their new products and solutions.

It is my biggest pleasure to be able to blog about this and give everyone hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I really hope this disrupts these archaic banks who destroy small business owners livelihood.

Let’s give power back to the SME and let’s leverage online banking – who needs to visit a corporate banking branch anyway?

Can You Trust This New Fintech Startup?

As I have been telling clients about this new banking solution – some are still a bit nervous. A startup holding your funds is a big ask, not as simple as a social media app where you share what you ate for dinner.

True, I always have to disclose you need to use any financial solution at your own risk. But they are recognized in Hong Kong as an accredited Fintech company and work inside Cyberport. I should get him on the podcast as well (update: we got them founders on the podcast, see below!).

Check Out Our GFA Podcast With the Neat Founders

We had a great chance to have co-founders David Rosa and Igor Wos on our very own podcast – check the Story of Neat HK and enjoy!

Neat Founder Story

Ready to go and get this new Hong Kong Business Banking solution? How To Signup?

So I probably have you on the edge of your seat (I hope!) and I have you excited to apply.

If you are starving and about to die of starvation as you have a HK company already and just need a freaking bank account – then this is a great solution for you – you can browse over to Neat Business Account and apply (update: Neat is out of closed beta, and also technically Neat is not a bank – but a current account and banking alternative). We are a Neat Business Service Provider Partner and have a special relationship with them. We can help you get expedited prioritized service but that is only if you’re a client of our corporate services division (Unipro) and talk to our client services department to get that going.

Don’t have a HK company yet and now feel more confident you can get a HK company and banking alternative account together – then let’s work together. Check out our HKVIP package and let’s do some business together.

This may have just re-opened the doors to doing business in Hong Kong for online business owners. That plus the corporate tax rate has been dropped to 8.25% (from 16.5%) for SMEs with less than 2 million HKD in revenue. Ice age in HK may be past us, let’s hope and we will keep you updated as this progresses.

Ears On The Ground

Here are some messages we have been hearing on the web that we believe is helpful
have you succeeded with HSBC ? [Surprise] A lot of variables will come into play, especially fiscal residency and company’s “establishment” location. Generally speaking, will be harder for countries like me France to apply in today’s banking conditions. Anyways, NEAT business is good although they are launching and still developing.

However pay attention -> they have merchant limits as they are NOT a bank, they can only hold funds under a 2million HKD limit. This means, if you generate large amounts of revenue, you won’t be able to store all of your funds with NEAT, you will need like a traditional bank account for savings for example. I currently work it out this way :

1/ I use sendwyre to do as much as I can with supplier payments and other online payments then send the remaining to NEAT

2/ I use NEAT for other purposes like the mastercard to purchase stuff online, also will do HK based transactions or other operational stuff I may need on a week to week basis.

3/ I have a traditional bank account I was able to open after almost a year of issues and 3 banks denied. This one is not being used right now and I unfortunately pay fees to keep it opened. However the aim is to keep this bank account in order to have a back up plan in case NEAT goes bad + it allows me to grow my business where when I will cross the 2million HKD in balance on NEAT, I start sending over to my bank. Remember -> you may have sometimes over 2million HKD for just couple weeks , in that case NEAT won’t accept your funds. So long term wise, you need a traditional bank too and play around those limits.mobile online forum

Input from Neat, March 2018

Here’s an update from Andre in our GFA Community Wechat group who has this update on the Neat bank situation for HK:
“Ok guys so answers from neat: still no multi currency accounts, cannot currently deposit cash, to withdraw cash standard neat charge of 2.5% is charged, the main partner bank is standard chartered. So currently it’s best just for users purely doing online business.”Andre

Can I wire in USD or other foreign currencies?

Yes, you can wire incoming currencies no problem.

Can we transfer money to EU banks?

For wiring out, you can only send money within HK. But you can use a cross border payment company such as Aurelia Pay.

Check our blog on cross border payment companies.

What’s the account limits?

2,000,000 HKD (a bit over $250,000 US dollar) as of March 2018.

A question from a Client

“I have a question, we set up the neat account and everything went smoothly and the account is open and active now.

however, it shows the account only accepts incoming wire.

Is there anyway you can help us with that? I tried looking for information on how to contact the bank directly but they only have a q & a with 15 questions.

the main reason we wanted an account was to pay our supplier in China to expedite the process of importing our product to USA. Can you please give me some information and also if you can let me know how we can open account with a better bank.”

We suggest using a cross border payment service provider in the middle.

Questions from a GFA Client

I recently tried to open a Neat.hk account, but they are only limited to HK company. So if I open a Hong Kong company using the services from GFA, and then open a Neat.hk account, will I be able to transfer money from my U.S. banks to Neat? For tax purposes, I would like to show that I am buying inventory from my HK company and importing that to my U.S. company. Can I do that? Is it easy to transfer money that way?

GFA answer: - Yes, Neat business account requires a Hong Kong company. And yes - you can transfer money into Neat from US / overseas. Yes you can invoice from your HK company with your Neat HK bank details to your US company. The only thing about Neat is there are limits to how many funds you can hold - we have a detailed blog post about Neat on the GFA blog at www.globalfromasia.com/neat

I will then buy inventory from my Chinese supplier using my Neat account. Is it possible to transfer money from Neat to their HSBC hong Kong banks and also to their China Banks?

GFA Answer: Neat only currently allows you to send money to other HK banks. BUT - the solution has been to use a cross border payment solution such as AureliaPay - www.globalfromasia.com/reviews/aureliapay to send from HK to overseas such as China.


Information You’ll Need to Apply

Here is a copy/paste of their latest application form

This form collects information about your company so that we can complete the application without the need to travel and visit our office.

We will gather information about:

  • Your company
  • Directors
  • Shareholders
  • Ultimate Beneficial Owners (natural persons who ultimately own or control the company)

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