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Best Credit Cards
A rundown of how to choose your top credit card picks for rewards, cashback, no annual fee, miles and more.
Looking for the best credit card in Hong Kong? The reality is that what qualifies as ‘best’ is different for every person and the right credit card for you will depend on your spending habits, the features you’re looking for and your financial history. Whatever you’re looking for, read on to help you make a more informed choice when it comes to your next credit card.
Choosing the best credit card for you
To choose the right credit card, you’ll want to look at a number of factors including how you plan to use the card, your current financial situation and your future goals. This will allow you to compare the range of benefits and features available based on your circumstances so that you can find one that suits your needs.
Let’s take a look at the key types of credit cards available in Hong Kong.
Rewards credit cards: Earn more points per HK$1 spent and redeem with your favourite retailers, restaurants and airlines.
Rewards credit cards offer reward points based on the amount you spend. You can redeem your points for shopping, travel, dining discounts, concierge services and many other rewards. These cards are suited to frequent credit card users who want to maximise points for everyday spending.
Which rewards credit card is right for me?
- What kind of rewards do you want to redeem? Reward programmes differ greatly in the variety of rewards they offer, from flights to shopping, dining, gift vouchers and experiences. Make sure the rewards available are of interest to you.
- Compare point earnings and caps. Check how many points your card offers per HK$1 spent. Many rewards credit cards also have points caps that only allow you to earn a specified amount of points during a statement period, so check for this limitation too. Some offer higher levels of rewards for certain types of spending, such as in restaurants or overseas.
- Other features of the card. Check the other features of the card, such as shopping discounts, or introductory offers, as well as rates and fees.
Where to find great rewards credit cards in Hong Kong
- Citi Rewards Card. This card lets you earn 5x reward points on all contactless payments. What’s more, Citibank promises that your points will never expire. At the time of writing (February 2021) this credit card included a welcome offer of up to HK$800 in cash rebates (200,000 points) or an afternoon tea for two at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong.
- DBS Live Fresh Card. By choosing this card from DBS, you can take advantage of a 5% cash boost reward in your choice of spending category each month. Among its other perks is with shopping: make the most of an unlimited 1% cashback rate for any online spending in foreign currencies.
- HSBC Premier MasterCard Credit Card. Sign up and get a host of cardholder benefits with HSBC. for example, enjoy up to 6X RewardCash in your selected spending category. You can also enjoy ‘buy-1-get-1-free’ dining privileges at Michelin Restaurants. Meanwhile, an attractive travel reward comes in the form of an HK$800 rebate and an extra 800 AsiaMiles for a flight booking made via Cathay Pacific’s website. To be eligible, your booking will need to be a single transaction of HK$8,000 or more. This card is only available for HSBC Premier customers.
- Hang Seng Visa Infinite Card. This card is especially good for those who love to shop. There’s no pre-defined spending limit, plus, you could be granted access to members-only private clubs in Hong Kong. You could also enjoy some attractive savings on your online and overseas spending.
Gold, Platinum and Elite credit cards: Spend big and enjoy perks
Gold, Platinum and elite credit cards provide access to premium features such as complimentary insurance and concierge services. These cards are designed for high earners and big spenders who want something extra for paying with plastic.
How can I find the right gold, platinum or elite credit card?
- How much does the card cost? Because of their premium features, these cards typically have higher annual fees than other credit cards. To maximise the value you get from one of these cards, make sure you will regularly use the features it offers.
What are the credit limits? If you want a very high spending limit, this type of card could be suited to your needs. Some elite cards have no credit limit at all.
- What are the credit limits? If you want a very high spending limit, this type of card could be suited to your needs. Some elite cards have no credit limit at all.
Best credit cards for travel rewards: Redeem flights with your favourite airline or get retail products, gifts, cashback and shopping vouchers.
If you’re a frequent traveller, getting a credit card that helps you earn more travel reward miles could help you get free flights and upgrades. On the other hand, if you want to save money on your travel costs you might prefer a card with no foreign transaction fees.
Travel reward cards help you earn air miles on everyday purchases, either directly or by transferring card reward points to your chosen airline’s loyalty programme. You should consider travel credit cards if you want to maximise your air miles total to enjoy free flights and other benefits.
How can I find the right travel credit card?
- Which travel rewards programmes are available? Some credit cards are tied directly to a specific airline’s rewards scheme, such as Asia Miles for Cathay Pacific or Avios for British Airways. Others allow you to transfer credit card reward points to partner frequent flyer programmes or a hotel’s frequent guest programme, such as American Express Membership Rewards.
- Compare the earn rate. The earn rate is the number of points you earn per HK$1 spent. Also, check whether there’s a cap on how many points you can earn each month or each year.
- Other valuable features. What other features do you want from your card? Are there any bonus points on offer, hotel discounts, airport lounge passes or an annual fee waiver?
No foreign transaction fee credit cards: Pay overseas without the extra cost
These credit cards are designed to make it more affordable to spend money overseas or online with international retailers. Unlike most credit cards, they don’t charge a foreign transaction fee every time you use your card to spend in an international currency. If you’re a frequent traveller, have a holiday coming up or regularly use your credit card for shopping with international stores online, a no foreign transaction fee card could be a smart way to avoid extra costs.
How can I find the right low or no foreign transaction fee card?
- Annual fee. You may be saving on foreign currency conversion fees, but you’ll want to make sure the annual fee doesn’t offset these savings. Annual fees range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, so a high annual fee can easily wipe out any savings you make.
- Travel perks. If you’re looking to use your card overseas, see if you can get further savings through other travel perks, such as discounts on hotels stays, a free airport limousine service and complimentary access to business lounges.
- Interest rates and fees. If you plan to use the card regularly, be sure to check out the interest rate you will be charged on outstanding balances, as well as other fees, such as using an overseas ATM to help you work out if you are really saving money in the long run.
Low and no annual fee credit cards: Enjoy benefits while paying lower fees
As their name suggests, low and no annual fee credit cards have a low annual cardholder fee, often HK$0. That gives you the convenience of a credit card without high costs. If you regularly pay off your balance each month, a low-fee card will be your cheapest option. This type of card is also practical if you rarely pay with plastic.
How can I find the right low and no annual fee credit cards?
- Compare fees and interest rates. The lower the annual fee, the better. Check whether the low fee applies throughout the life of the card or just for the first year. Also make sure to check the interest rate and ensure that interest costs won’t outweigh the low-fee benefit.
- Compare other benefits. Some credit cards with low or waived annual fees also offer additional benefits, such as rewards programmes, shopping discounts and travel perks. Bear these in mind when comparing different cards.
Balance transfer credit cards: Repay your debt with low interest rates
Balance transfer cards let you pay off an existing debt from a credit card with a low interest rate, such as 6%, for a set period. If you have an existing credit card debt that’s accumulating interest, a balance transfer deal can help you pay off that debt faster.
How can I find the right balance transfer credit card?
- How good is the balance transfer offer? To compare balance transfer offers, look at how low the interest rate is, how many months it lasts for, and what rate you will be charged on any debt you have not cleared when the balance transfer offer comes to an end.
- What fees apply? As well as annual fees, check if there’s a one-time balance transfer fee (usually a percentage of the total debt) for the card.
Student credit cards: Manage your expenses and buy what you need
A range of credit cards are available for students who need a convenient way to spend as they study. Many of the cards waive their annual fee. Students who are looking for affordable credit card options, and who may not qualify for other cards. They’re a good way to build credit history and understand the responsibilities of debt.
Which student card is right for me?
- Are you eligible? Even though they’re called “student credit cards”, these products still have minimum age and residency criteria that you must fulfil, while some also have minimum income requirements.
- Compare key features. Check what interest rate will apply to your purchases and whether or not you will be charged an annual fee. Also consider low foreign transaction fees if you plan to use the card overseas.
Business credit cards: Manage your work spending
Business credit cards give your business access to a convenient line of credit to help manage fluctuations in your cash flow. Additional cards and spending caps also mean you can manage your employees’ spending. These cards can be beneficial for sole traders, small-to-medium businesses and corporate entities by providing access to credit to help manage finances.
Finding the right credit card for your business
- Consider the card features. You can opt for a card that earns your business rewards points, offers complimentary insurance or one that helps you save on your business purchases. Many business credit cards also offer integration with accounting software and include additional cards for employees.
- Assess the costs. If cash flow issues mean you won’t always be able to pay off the card immediately, look for a card with a long interest-free period and waived annual fee to help reduce costs. If your key requirement is being able to track and centralise business spending, look for a card that integrates with your accounting system.
Credit cards and contactless payments: What you need to know
The vast majority of credit cards today offer tap-and-go payments at the checkout. Most options also link with Apple Pay and Android Pay so you can make payments from a compatible mobile phone or device. Cards that take contactless payments are ideally suited to iPhone and Android users, who want to cut their time at the checkout and increase the convenience of their credit card payments.
How can I find the right credit card with Apple Pay?
- Provider. The majority of the major banks in Hong Kong now offer credit cards with Apple Pay and Android Pay.
- Eligible devices. Apple Pay is only available on Apple devices. It is supported on newer model iPhones, iPads, the Apple Watch and Mac. If you’re on an older iPhone device with an older iOS variant, you’ll have to update if you want to access Apple Pay.
- Which mobile phones are compatible with Android Pay? Almost all Android smartphones with NFC (Near Field Communication) can take advantage of Android Pay. This includes the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, Sony Xperia Z5, Nexus 6P or Samsung Galaxy S6, S7. If you’re still unsure, check whether your current smartphone accepts Android Pay.
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