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.
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
Get a credit card without foreign transaction fees. You can save yourself a lot of money by cutting out this per-transaction fee.
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.
Get a back-up card. If you lose your primary card, you won’t be left without money.
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.
Inform your bank you’ll be in Hong Kong. This way your bank won’t block your card if they suspect fraudulent activity.
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.
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.
Hong Kong uses the Hong Kong dollar. Its currency code is HKD and its symbol is HK$.
When you withdraw cash from a cash machine, you’ll get banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 150, 500 or 1,000.
Historical Rate chart of GBP and HKD
Updated: 14 Apr 2021 11:32:27 UTC
The largest banks in Hong Kong are:
Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC)
Bank of China, Hong Kong
Hang Seng Bank
Bank of East Asia
You can also find international banks, such as Barclays Hong Kong.
Ask your bank if it’s partnered with any of the banks listed above to avoid paying fees on ATM cash withdrawals.
Chris Lilly is a publisher at finder.com. He's a specialist in credit-based products including business and personal loans, mortgages and credit cards, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their borrowing. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more.
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