Using a credit card in Hong Kong? All you need to know before you travel

Using a credit card in Hong Kong

Bring along a card without foreign transaction fees and decline "dynamic currency conversion" if offered.

Santander All in One Credit Card

Santander All in One Credit Card

  • Balance transfers 0% for 26 months
  • Purchases 0% for 20 months
  • 0.5% cashback on your purchases
  • No fees on currency conversion

Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 23.7% APR (variable).

Promoted

When you travel in Hong Kong, you can use your credit cards freely. Mastercard and Visa are more widely accepted than American Express cards, but there are cash machines and merchants where you can use Amex.

Most cash machines in Hong Kong won’t charge you fees for cash withdrawals – so if you need some cash once you land, you can get it at the airport ATMs. You’ll be charged for the currency conversion, but if you opt for a credit card with fee-free spending overseas, your funds will be converted at the standard Mastercard or Visa rates.

Compare cards with fee-free currency conversion in Hong Kong

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Data updated daily
Name Product Purchases Annual/monthly fees Credit limits Rep. APR Incentive Link
Santander All in One Credit Card
0% for 20 months reverting to 17.9%
£3 per month
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
23.7% (variable)
0.5% cashback after £1 of monthly spend. Cashback paid monthly into card account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 17.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 23.7% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
More Info
The Royal Bank Credit Card
9.9%
£0
Min. limit £300, max. limit not specified.
9.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 9.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 9.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Ulster Bank Credit Card Mastercard
9.9%
£0
Min. limit £400, max. limit not specified.
9.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 9.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 9.9% APR (variable).
More Info
The NatWest Credit Card
9.9%
£0
Min. limit £300, max. limit not specified.
9.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 9.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 9.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Halifax Clarity Credit Card Mastercard
19.95%
£0
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Nationwide Member Credit Card Balance Transfer Offer
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit £15,000.
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Nationwide Member Credit Card All Rounder Offer
0% for 15 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit £15,000.
19.9% (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
More Info
Virgin Money Travel Credit Card
0% for 9 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
21.9% (variable)
Enjoy exclusive offers and rewards on the Virgin Red app.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
More Info
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Compare up to 4 providers

Potential credit card fees in Hong Kong

When you use your card in Hong Kong, you may incur these fees:

  • Foreign transaction fees. A non-sterling fee of around 3% per transaction can apply, depending on your credit card. That’s £30 in fees for every £1,000 spent with your card.
  • Merchant currency conversion fees. Sometimes, a merchant will offer to take payment in sterling instead of the local currency. This is known as a dynamic currency conversion (DCC) and often comes with higher fees than if you paid in the local currency.
  • Cash advance fees. Your card issuer may charge a fee for cash advances (withdrawing cash using your card).
  • ATM fees. The provider of a cash machine may charge a fee if you withdraw cash using your card.

Can I incur multiple fees on a single transaction?

Yes, you can. But the good news is you can avoid most fees if you get a credit card without foreign transaction fees (or even better, one that doesn’t charge for overseas cash withdrawals either), decline the DCC when offered, and only use cash machines that don’t charge a fee.

Should I use my credit card to get cash in Hong Kong?

Getting cash with your credit card in Hong Kong has more favourable exchange rates than if you exchange cash. However, depending on your card, there could be a cash advance fee and/or a non-sterling transaction fee. Also, it’s not unusual for cards to charge a different rate of interest on cash advances, and to charge interest from the day the account is debited (rather than letting you take advantage of interest-free days).

Do taxis in Hong Kong accept credit cards?

No. But you can use Uber and pay for a rideshare with your card through the app.

Chip-and-PIN credit cards

In Hong Kong, most credit cards are chip without a PIN cards. In some cases, if your PIN has four digits, you may need to add two zeros at the end for it to work.

Is it safe to use my credit card in Hong Kong?

Yes, it’s safe to use your card in Hong Kong. But for added security, always try to:

  • Use an ATM within a bank. In the unfortunate case that the ATM eats your card, you can quickly retrieve it. Also, the chances of someone tampering with the machine are much lower.
  • Take two credit cards. You never know what can happen, and a second card can mean peace of mind. If you lose your card, you’ll have a back-up kept in your hotel room safe that you can use for the rest of your trip.
  • Keep your card in sight. Card cloning is rare in Hong Kong, but you’ll still want to make sure you always watch your card.

How to prepare before travelling to Hong Kong

  1. Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. You can save yourself a lot of money by cutting out this per-transaction fee.
  2. Opt for a Mastercard or Visa. They’re universally accepted in Hong Kong. American Express cards aren’t as popular, but you can use them at some locations to pay, or withdraw cash from an ATM.
  3. Get a back-up card. If you lose your primary card, you won’t be left without money.
  4. Take out cash. Use an ATM at the airport to get cash. If you take a cab to your hotel, you’ll need it to pay the driver. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have some cash on hand in case of emergencies.
  5. Inform your bank you’ll be in Hong Kong. This way your bank won’t block your card if they suspect fraudulent activity.
  6. Take your bank’s phone number. If you have any questions regarding your PIN or if you lose your card, it’s always good to know who to call.

Bottom line

Hong Kong is a credit-card-friendly territory. You shouldn’t have any issues using your plastic to pay in most places. Taxis are the only service that won’t accept credit cards, but if that’s the case, you can always call Uber and pay through the app.

Consider taking out a card with no overseas transaction fees, and then decline DCC if offered.

How to use a credit card in …

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