69 Comments on “Hong Kong Needs Stripe Merchant Account Services”

    1. Michael Michelini

      (catching up w/ comments after being up in Chengdu with limited internet)

      thanks David – glad you found my podcast – ya I mentioned it when I launched in Dynamite Circle end of October – been a bit shy to push it too much I guess! 😉

      Thanks for this list – I am compiling a ton of options for an ongoing analysis and comparison.

      Hope you enjoyed this podcast – feedback welcome – both positive and negative!

      this episode i did it solo – normally I am interviewing people

      1. davidhme

        Yeah the episode was great. I also listened to the episode about Worldpay, good stuff.

        Quick questions (let me know if there’s an episode about this):

        1. How much bureaucracy is involved in running a HK corp? I guess accounting + audits are the bulk of it?

        2. A friend’s HK corp got audited and the company doing the audit told him that he’ll have to print out all of his receipts (40k pieces of paper!). Is that normal? Sounds like a pretty bad level of bureaucracy.

        1. Michael Michelini

          Not covered yet but good episode topic! I literally just setup voicemail recording via GlobalfromAsia.Com/voicemail and would rock if you could leave a message and be the first caller on the podcast!!!!

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      1. jack

        Hey Mike,
        I’ve read some favorable reviews and their rates for processing CC payments seem on par with those of Stripe — 2.9% +.30 / transaction and no set-up fees, etc. However, it’s primarily designed for selling SAAS, recurring subscriptions, or digital coins ie dating sites and gaming.

        They also have another service for being able to accept myriad alternative payment methods for different local markets (in 200+ countries and 25+ languages).

        The only downside I can see is that they’re really not set up to handle payments for physical goods, as the CEO states in one of the links down below. Perhaps there’s a creative solution or software combination that would solve that issue?

        Here’s a link to Paymentwall website:

        Here’s a link to what the company CEO says on Quora:

        They seem eager to interact with customers and make their product known. Although they don’t seem to have a HK office, they are incorporated there. Maybe you could reach out to them for an interview.

          1. jack

            Awesome, hopefully you can make that happen!

            And great work with your show, really enjoying and learning from your podcasts 🙂

          2. Michael Michelini

            Thanks Jack,

            Really happy to hear you enjoy the podcast and are learning

            It’s been now over 40 shows and still a bit quiet on the feedback side, my first podcast so still learning how to make it more interesting and interactive

            I can give you a shout out on an upcoming show! 🙂

          3. jack

            Yea, but I think that’s understandable for something that’s just getting going.. as Chinese speakers always say to me in regards to learning Chinese “慢慢來”. Besides, the most important thing is that you’ve got a lot of solid content!

            Thanks, that’d be awesome! I’d love a shout out – but maybe once I’ve actually got something to show or be recognized for!

            I’m just now in the midst of starting a HK based B2C printing business; sourcing manufacturers in the Dongguan, Shenzhen area, designing my website, etc. Initially I hope to sell my designs to the wedding industry.

            I currently live in Taiwan and will be making a trip over to HK within the next few months to get incorporated, open a bank account, and meet with some suppliers.

            Hoping to be able to put some of your advice into action!

            I’ll hit you up once I’m on the mainland, maybe we can grab a coffee or tea 🙂

          4. Michael Michelini

            Exciting to hear your new venture!

            I do hop over to Hong Kong regularly, often to record for this show so keep me posted when you are there and we can get coffee

            Once you get your business going I’d love to interview you and you can share with other listeners!!

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  4. Nghia

    Wonderful article. Very informative. Do you have any update on Stripe and HK ?
    I have an e-commerce business based in HK and right now, most of my customers comes from Europe. I’m currently using Paypal, but their new policy forcing users to create an account is making me loose customers. I’m looking for a good processing CC service that is easy and multilangual. (We can use Paypal Pro in HK, but it’s only available in English or Chinese)

    1. Michael Michelini

      Hey Nghia,

      I totally understand your frustration… We all are frustrated here and waiting for Stripe to come…

      I did a podcast on paymentwall that is an option some are looking at here is the link to the show https://www.globalfromasia.com/merchant-accounts-hard-hong-kong/

      Worldpay is the one I have heard from friends that gives you the true merchant account experience in Hong Kong but it has a rather higher setup cost, Marie shared on it here https://www.globalfromasia.com/worldpay-merchant-account-process/

      Hope this helps… Hope it gets better for Hong Kong online businesses soon…

  5. Jason

    Hi, thanks for the post just curious if there is any payment gateway at all that can be used in HK which allows website to accept credit card payments on own website without jumping to another platform given that the website is not PCI complianced?(ie, with paypal you have to “check out with PayPal” and customer are redirected to paypal platform for payment details


    1. Michael Michelini

      Hi Jason,

      From my research so far there are two options:

      1. Worldpay
      2. Paymentwall (via iframe)

      Let me know what you find.

      I have also heard Stripe may be coming to Hong Kong soon… I will post as soon as I find that out

        1. Michael Michelini

          Hi Cyril –
          you mean about Stripe coming to Hong Kong soon? It is a well connected friend who goes to SV often….but ….I wouldn’t base my business decisions based on waiting for it to happen….

  6. Bozo

    Hi Michael,

    great podcast.

    We at https://Pencepay.com started accepting Hong Kong companies directly a few months ago, through a relationship with couple of HK banks. Our service is quite modern, similar to Braintree/Stripe, so the RESTful API and all the rest. There is NO redirection to our domain to pay (although you can use our hosted payment page if you really want) but there is client-side encryption of card number and other sensitive data, so you are 100% free to change the design of the payment page – no Chinese characters on your payment page. The service can be used for in-app payments as well. You can do ALL operations which gateway supports through the web Administration tool using our API, so it is quite on-par with the best US solutions. The Administration tool (which you can see if you sign up for free) is also quite modern and works on desktop and mobile devices.

    The fees will always be higher in Hong Kong because card networks charge higher interchange fees for merchants in Asia, though.

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  8. LAM

    If your business only includes local transaction, PPS is a good approach as well. Otherwise, the only options are Paypal and Braintree which cost much. Interestingly, even Hong Kong is part of China, Chinese payment methods seem don’t welcome Hong Kong merchants , for example, Alipay requires ICP license but HK business is impossible to apply it.

    1. Michael Michelini

      Thanks for the comment Lam!

      PPS, I have not heard of them before, seems they are part of EPS?


      And is a Form of Bill payment

      I agree with you about Hong Kong being stuck between China and the West, and Hong Kong is supposed to be a financial capital of Asia so why are there these issues….

      I will have future episodes about icp in China, but yes you are right need a mainland Chinese company or Chinese local identification card to get it.
      But there is alipay for Hong Kong companies

      Get updates on my newsletter


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  10. Vander Ng

    Hi Michael, have you interviewed Braintree? I know they have set up the team in Asia and accepting merchants in Hong Kong. I did apply it recently but my application is not handled in a professional way. They classify my business is high risk without telling me the reason, or suggesting me any arrangement that can lower the risk. My feeling is that they are not eager to do business here. Any findings from your side?

    1. Michael Michelini

      hi Vander,
      Braintree I have had a ton of people emailing me and tweeting me as soon as they announced they were coming to Asia. I think Braintree is flooded with applicants and maybe a bit overwhelmed. I’m curious what your business is to be considered high risk? Maybe I can help – I do want to interview them – I hope to get them on soon

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  12. Manu Verma

    just wondering if there’s any new update about Stripe in Hong Kong, this is Oct 2015, and i am planning on moving there for good.

    1. Michael Michelini

      Hi Manu,
      Thanks for checking in – I’m constantly getting people asking me – and was at the RISE conference where one of the founders of Stripe spoke – they said planning for end of this year – but as of now I have not heard anything, received no email, social media updates, or anything… let’s keep hoping…. but there are other alternatives too. Will you wait for Stripe how long?

      1. Manu Verma

        Thanks Michael.
        I am currently in USA, and even when I move back to Hong Kong, I can keep using my US bank account for letting people deposit money and then transfer it to the local Hong Kong bank account if needed. But this is a pain!
        Plus, I will have to put prices in US dollars on my website even if I sell locally, which means that both me and the clients will need to convert in their head to see how many Hong Kong dollars it will be.
        This all could be rectified easily if Stripe just opened up a local beta option. They were supposed to be in Singapore, Japan and New Zealand by now, and they have made all of them successfully expect New Zealand. So I believe that they are fairly organized in their roll outs. So if they said they would be in Hong Kong by the end of this year, I have a very strong belief that they will. I will dance when that happens.

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  14. Chrisina

    Hi Michael, Great Article, this has been such a BIG pain point for my website. It’s amazing that a place like hong kong is dealing with 20th century problems :)– So far I LOVE working with Braintree, they are great, the only problem is they are approved for Mastercard and Visa only, so if I want to accept Discover, Amex, or any other card type I have to apply for an SC # on my own. For over a month now I’ve been dealing with AMEX Merchant Services, they have been a nightmare – I really hope either Braintree or Stripe has a solution soon.

    1. Michael Michelini

      Hi Christina,
      True, I just don’t expect many people to use Amex – so many clients ask you for it ? How does one get AMEX for Hong Kong anyway? Would love any insights 🙂

      1. Christina

        Actually I know many people who use amex especially if they have gold card or above because of the awesome point system. I applied through their online service http://www.americanexpress.com/hk/en/content/merchant/contact-us-and-faqs.html they took forever to respond, so I kept emailing and calling until I got a hold of one of the account managers. It’s been almost 2 months and they still haven’t approved me and they won’t tell me why. That’s the most frustrating part.

        1. Michael Michelini

          Hi Christina,

          You’re probably dealing with them in email? Or do you get them on the phone? I’ll call them on Monday and see what’s up, maybe I’ll ring their doorbell haha

          stay tuned… and have a great weekend

          1. Christina

            Phone call first, then email – Ironically I have a call scheduled on Monday at 10:30. I will have my local friend on the call to translate if need be. Haven’t rung their doorbell yet 🙂 ~ Let me know how it goes for you… Cheers

          2. Michael Michelini

            So I talked to a client services – seems she was nice enough, based in MY!

            She couldn’t find my account in the system, but I think my braintree merchant account supports American Express? I emailed Braintree support to see

            If you read the FAQ here – https://www.braintreepayments.com/faq you’ll see it says it supports AMEX

            maybe try that?

          3. Christina

            It looks like that’s only for US.
            What kinds of payments can I accept with Braintree?

            Merchants in the US can use Braintree to accept PayPal, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Venmo, Bitcoin and most credit and debit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB and Diner’s Club.

          4. Matt

            Hi Christina,
            I am also curious about this. The FAQ says: “All merchants in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia can accept PayPal and cards on the Visa and MasterCard networks as long as the cards are enabled for online use. Currently, American Express is only available for merchants located in Hong Kong.”

          5. Michael Michelini

            Hi Matt and Christina,

            Braintree Support got back to me – seems Amex works for Hong Kong – finally a +1 for HK business owners – here’s their email – same link as Christina shared, so still need AMEX account to be approved:
            Hi Mike,

            I hope you are well! Your Global From Asia merchant account is definitely eligible to accept American Express.

            In order to accept AmEx, we will need for you to set up a Service Establishment Number (SE#) with AmEx for each presentment currency you would like to accept Amex with. They can be contacted at: 2277 2277. Additional information can be found on their website here.

            Once you’ve set up your account, we’ll need for you to fill out the attached pricing sheet for each currency with your SE number and business information.

            You will be able to accept payments from AmEx cardholders with this connected, but please note that our support for this card type is currently in “beta”. As such, we are not billing you for these transactions at present (aka fee-free AmEx processing!). However, we’ll reach out to let you know when you can expect to begin seeing transaction charges for AmEx transactions.

            Once I receive your documentation from that address I will have this completed as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please let me know!


            BrainTree Support Asia

          6. Christina

            Matt and Matt 🙂

            During my call yesterday with Amex, they wouldn’t give me a reason for denial. Braintree was kind enough to dig deeper and found out that the reason they denied me was because my company fell into the probhibited list category. So Now I have to decide to keep working with Braintree (Which I love ) Or find a new gateway that already hasan established account with Amex. Have either of you used EZPay? They have a contact # for HK but it’s incorrect. If anyone has the right contact # for HK please share.

            HONG KONG
            800 933 873

          7. Michael Michelini

            Here’s the latest wit AMEX HK

            lots and lots of manual back and forth with a person in their company – and CNY has made it slower – but finally – he came to VISIT MY OFFICE last week…. he was in a full suit and kinda felt my office was not so nice (just the vibe I got)

            He said they need audited financials, and etc etc and it would be HKD account at first. Can then go to USD but more strict and 200usd/year fee to keep it.

            Not sure if I really want to go through all that to be honest.

      2. Matt

        Hi Mike,
        Amex is only the fourth largest in the world by number of cards issued, but they are the largest in the world by purchase volume.

          1. Michael Michelini

            Hey Matt,
            So they replied to me about 10 days later and been some back and forth. These are the latest questions I replied to:

            How are you? Thank you very much for your information!!! May I know,

            (1) Is Shadstone Limited a registered company in HK?

            (2) May I know how long have Shadstone Limited been in the business?

            (3) You work in HK office?

            (4) You help your clients to get their HK Business Registration and to provide advices to them for setting up their business in HK? You also sell books to them?

            (5) Does your website accept any credit card at the moment?

            Together with the information above, I will forward your web address to my colleague for his comment.

            Thank you,


            Strategic Acquisition, Hong Kong | Global Merchant Services |

            American Express International Inc.

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        1. Siva Malhotra

          got my first payout to the bank. Full amount and on time. Also they are trying to bring settlements in USD very soon and reduce the time from 7 days to 2. Can’t tell my source though. Its high time to leave braintree as STRIPE does allow AMEX charges as well.

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