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Charles Schwab Hong Kong U.S. Dollar Account: The Best Brokerage Account for US Stocks?

Charles Schwab Hong Kong U.S. Dollar Account: The Best Brokerage Account for US Stocks?

The Charles Schwab Hong Kong U.S Dollar Account offers great access to US stocks, ETFs, bonds, Fixed income, and American depositary receipts (ADRs) with very low fees. It also provides educational resources tailored to international investors and a dedicated relationship with a Financial Consultant. This brokerage account is less accessible than others due to the US$25,000 (roughly HK$193,800) minimum deposit to open an account, but it’s still a competitive choice for investing in American financial markets.

Summary of Charles Schwab Brokerage Account
No commission fees or platform fees for US stocks and ETFs
Excellent educational resources and consulting services
Security Guarantee covers 100% of any losses due to unauthorized activity
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Table of Contents

What Makes the Charles Schwab Brokerage Account Stand Out to Investors

The Charles Schwab Brokerage Account has no commissions, platform fees, or transaction fees for trading US stocks. By comparison, most brokerage accounts in Hong Kong charge several dollars per transaction, significantly impacting your return on investment over time. For example, the Valuable Capital Brokerage Account charges a minimum of US$0.99 per transaction, which means you would have at least an extra dollar to invest with every trade using a Schwab account.

Schwab offers educational resources specifically tailored to international investors to inform them about trading in US markets. Investors can also take advantage of Schwab’s StreetSmart Edge platform, which allows you to easily check your investments, track key balances, find and analyse opportunities and more. The platform is customisable to match your preferences and offers a commercial-free live stream of the CNBC broadcast right on your desktop.

Finally, account holders can work with a dedicated financial consultant and develop an investing strategy at no charge. The Schwab Security Guarantee also refunds 100% of losses incurred due to unauthorized activity on your account.

The Schwab account’s drawbacks are its US$25,000 minimum deposit to open an account and its lack of access to markets outside of the US. However, wealthier investors looking for excellent investing tools and resources should consider a Schwab brokerage account for US investing.

Investment Opportunities with a Schwab Account

Charles Schwab brokerage account holders can trade a variety of US financial products, including:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Exchange-traded Funds (ETFs)
  • Fixed Income
  • American depositary receipts (ADRs)
Unlike other brokerages in Hong Kong, the Schwab brokerage account doesn’t offer access to HK stocks and A-Shares. Consumers looking to trade US and Hong Kong financial products with one account should consider SoFi Hong Kong. Other firms like Saxo Markets offer financial products from 36 exchanges worldwide, but the costs of commissions and fees for trading US stocks with Saxo Markets are significantly higher than with a Schwab account.

Charles Schwab Brokerage Account Fees

Charles Schwab is committed to a transparent fee and commissions model and its costs for trading US stocks are very competitive. Investors pay no commissions or fees for trading US stocks and ETFs, except if they place a trade through a broker or make special large block transactions that require special handling.

Passively managed Schwab ETFs have Operating Expense Ratios of as low as 0.03% to 0.13% depending on the product. Investors can also consider becoming a Schwab Private Client and receive dedicated financial advice from a portfolio manager starting at 0.80% annually.


Market/Product
Min. CommissionIndustry Average Min. Commission

USUS$0US$0.65-US$8
Hong KongN/AHK$3-HK$40
A-SharesN/AN/A

Charles Schwab Brokerage Account Eligibility Requirements: How do I Apply?

Consider this if you want seamless access to US stocks and ETFs

The Charles Schwab brokerage account is more difficult to apply for than other brokerages that allow you to simply apply through an app. To apply for a Schwab account you must download and fill out the application and other forms on the official website and mail or deliver it in person to the Charles Schwab offices in Hong Kong.

You must also fill out the "U.S. Internal Revenue Service Form W-8BEN" to prove your status as a non-US citizen and be exempted from taxes. The last form is the "Hong Kong Charles Schwab Common Reporting Standards Personal Self-Certification Form" which provides account information to Hong Kong tax authorities.

Documents required to open an account include:

  • Original Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card / Original Hong Kong Identity Card / Original Passport
  • Utility bills for the past 3 months (gas, electricity, water)

Conclusion

The Charles Schwab Hong Kong U.S. Dollar Account is a good choice for investors looking to invest a significant amount of money in American markets with minimal commissions and fees. If you want to invest in A-Shares or in the Hong Kong stock exchange, you should consider Hong Kong brokerage account with access to more markets. However, the Schwab account’s innovative trading platform, educational resources, and free consulting services make it a competitive choice for trading US stocks and ETFs.

How Does Charles Schwab Brokerage Account Compare Against Other Brokerage Accounts?

Read our comparisons of the Charles Schwab brokerage account with other brokerage accounts in Hong Kong and determine the best for you.

Charles Schwab Brokerage Account v. SoFi Hong Kong
  • Min. Commission Fee Hong Kong Stocks: HK$0
  • Min. Commission Fee US Stocks: US$0
  • Min. Commission Fee A-Shares: N/A
SoFi Hong Kong is a good choice for investors looking to trade US and Hong Kong stocks and ETFs with low fees. Like the Schwab account, it has no commissions or platform fees, but it also has no minimum initial deposit aside from the government-mandated HK$10,000 from a registered bank account. SoFi Hong Kong is one of the best accessible brokerage accounts for investing in US and Hong Kong stocks.
Charles Schwab Brokerage Account v. Saxo Markets Brokerage Account
  • Min. Commission Fee Hong Kong Stocks: 0.08% (HK$40)
  • Min. Commission Fee US Stocks: US$0.10 (US$10)
  • Min. Commission Fee A-Shares: 0.08% (CN¥15)
  • Note: Commissions listed are for Classic Account.
Saxo Markets stands out for its extensive range of financial products and broad market access. Consumers can invest in more than 40,000 financial products (including bonds, mutual funds, forex, commodities, futures, options and more) across 36 exchanges worldwide. VIP customers can also enjoy excellent customer service features including a dedicated sales trader and priority customer support.


This wide range of products and services comes at a significantly higher price than many other brokers. The Classic membership has a US$2,000 initial minimum deposit and a high US$10 minimum commission per US trade. Saxo Markets offers unbeatable market access to expert investors, but regular consumers looking for affordable US stocks and ETFs would be better off with a Schwab brokerage account.

Charles Schwab Brokerage Account v. SoFi Hong Kong
  • Min. Commission Fee Hong Kong Stocks: N/A
  • Min. Commission Fee US Stocks: US$0
  • Min. Commission Fee A-Shares: N/A
SoFi Hong Kong is a good choice for investors looking to trade US and Hong Kong stocks and ETFs with low fees. Like the Schwab account, it has no commissions or platform fees, but it also has no minimum initial deposit aside from the government-mandated HK$10,000 from a registered bank account. SoFi Hong Kong is one of the best accessible brokerage accounts for investing in US and Hong Kong stocks.
Charles Schwab Brokerage Account v. Saxo Markets Brokerage Account
  • Min. Commission Fee Hong Kong Stocks: 0.08% (HK$40)
  • Min. Commission Fee US Stocks: US$0.10 (US$10)
  • Min. Commission Fee A-Shares: 0.08% (CN¥15)
  • Note: Commissions listed are for Classic Account.
Saxo Markets stands out for its extensive range of financial products and broad market access. Consumers can invest in more than 40,000 financial products (including bonds, mutual funds, forex, commodities, futures, options and more) across 36 exchanges worldwide. VIP customers can also enjoy excellent customer service features including a dedicated sales trader and priority customer support.


This wide range of products and services comes at a significantly higher price than many other brokers. The Classic membership has a US$2,000 initial minimum deposit and a high US$10 minimum commission per US trade. Saxo Markets offers unbeatable market access to expert investors, but regular consumers looking for affordable US stocks and ETFs would be better off with a Schwab brokerage account.

Kevin Schwartz

Kevin is a Junior Research Analyst at ValueChampion specialising in credit cards in Hong Kong. He previously worked for the U.S. Congress as a Legislative Fellow as well as in international education in Beijing. He holds a B.A. in International Studies and Chinese from the College of the Holy Cross and received multiple scholarships for Chinese language studies, including the State Department Critical Language Scholarship.