Opening an e-Wallet account
e-Wallet Accounts - Questions and Answers
What is an e-Wallet?
An e-wallet (also known as Neobank or Digital Wallet) is, in effect, a simplified bank account. It provides the ability to make low-cost transfers worldwide and receive inward transfers at a much lower cost than a traditional bank.
What is the difference between an e-Wallet and traditional bank account?
Generally, e-wallets can be open in a matter of a few days. Banks, by comparison, can take several weeks to finalise opening procedures.
E-wallets are also cheaper to operate with no or very low monthly charges, whilst most banks have account maintenance fees.
Against that, e-wallets do not provide some of the ancillary services that banks do, for example, letters of credit, loans or trade finance.
How quickly can I open an e-Wallet account for my business?
If you have all the required information to hand, an e-wallet can be opened in anything between 1 to 5 days.
What are the advantages of an e-Wallet?
- Fast account opening.
- Much lower costs of operation compared to traditional banks.
- Transactions are generally effected within minutes.
- Generally very good rates of exchange for foreign currency transactions.
What are the disadvantages of an e-Wallet?
- Not all business types are accepted.
- Not all nationalities (of directors and shareholders) will be acceptable to the e-wallet.
- E-wallets are regulated differently to banks, and government/central bank guarantees do not apply.
- Limited customer service – frequently only a chatbox.
Can I open an e-wallet for a Hong Kong company?
Yes, e-wallets are available for HK companies. We have identified eight that provide a range of services that will be useful for most clients.
Can I open an e-wallet for a Singapore company?
Yes, we have identified nine e-wallets that provide services to Singapore companies.
Can TaiPan assist in opening an e-wallet for a company it didn’t form?
Yes, we will be able to help you. Please see ‘What kind of business is acceptable to the e-Wallets?’ below.
Can I open e-wallet for a Dubai company?
No, at present, e-wallet opening for Dubai and RAK companies is extremely difficult. We recommend a traditional bank account for UAE companies.
How much does TaiPan charge to open an e-Wallet?
We offer two different services. To see which one is more suitable for you, please visit the Prices page. Generally, we provide the following services:
- A detailed e-wallet information booklet.
- A detailed list of unacceptable businesses.
- A review of your completed questionnaire with our recommendation as to the best choice.
- We can help start an application process for your selected e-wallet.
Please be are we cannot guarantee successful account opening. This is a matter for e-wallet providers.
Are e-Wallet accounts expensive to run?
Generally, most e-wallets levy no monthly charges, and even those that do typically charge less than $12 per month. Transfer fees are lower than banks, and in most cases, there is no account opening fee.
What kind of business is acceptable by e-Wallets?
This question falls into two sections:
- Structure of your company. E-wallets do not like nominees or complex structures, e.g. where holding company holds HK or Singapore company shares. The more complex the company structure, the less likely an account will be opened. For complex structures, we recommend opening a traditional bank account.
- Business in which the company will be engaged. This varies between e-wallets, but in broad terms, the following types will not be acceptable: the adult industry, cryptocurrencies, unlicensed financial services, holding funds on clients behalf, currency trading etc.
Is my money safe with an e-Wallet conpared to a bank?
E-wallets are regulated in the jurisdictions in which they are licensed, and both HK and Singapore are keen to promote the stability of their financial system. Having said that, e-wallets do not offer a deposit guarantee scheme should an e-wallet fail. In most cases, e-wallets keep client funds in segregated accounts, providing a level of safety. By comparison, banks are part of a deposit guarantee scheme. For example, in Singapore and Hong Kong, the amount guaranteed is approximately US$ 65K.