Bring along a travel card without foreign transaction fees and decline DCC if offered.
When you travel in Hong Kong, you can use your credit cards freely. Mastercard and Visa are more popular than American Express and Discover cards, but there are ATMs and places where the latter two cards are also accepted.
Most ATMs 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.
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Consider getting a travel credit card for your trip to Hong Kong. Common features of these cards include rewards for your travel purchases and no foreign transaction fees. You might even be able to get to Hong Kong using your credit card rewards.
Potential credit card fees in Hong Kong
When you use your card in Hong Kong, you may incur fees for:
- Foreign transactions. Some cards have foreign transaction fees up to 3% of the transaction whenever you swipe. This means you’ll pay up to $30 for every $1,000 spent.
- Currency conversion. When you pay with a credit card, the merchant may ask you if you want to pay in US dollars. This is called a dynamic currency conversion (DCC) and has higher fees than if you pay in a local currency.
Can I incur both fees on a single transaction?
Yes, you can. But you can easily avoid them if you get a credit card without foreign transaction fees and, when offered, decline the DCC.
Which credit card issuers are accepted in Hong Kong?
American Express cards aren’t as widely accepted in Hong Kong as Mastercard and Visa, but the Platinum Card® from American Express will get you access to the Centurion Lounge in Terminal 1 at Hong Kong International Airport. If you’re looking to withdraw cash with an Amex card, look for AEON Credit Service ATMs.
Discover cards are rarely accepted at merchants, but you can pay with your Discover card wherever the Discover and Diners Club International logos appear. If you’re trying to find an ATM, look for Citibank or Bank of East Asia to withdraw cash.
Should I use my credit card to get cash in Hong Kong?
Getting cash with your credit card in Hong Kong has more favorable exchange rates than if you exchanged cash. The only fee you may pay is for cash advances, which can be up to 5% of the transaction, depending on your card. This means you’ll pay a $25 fee for a $500 cash withdrawal.
Most credit cards have a high cash advance APR, too. In this case, you can look into a debit card since they usually don’t have a cash advance fee or APR.
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 backup 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 traveling 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 and Discover cards aren’t as popular, but you can use them at some locations to pay or withdraw cash from an ATM.
- Get a backup 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. 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.
Top travel card to consider for frequent Hong Kong travelers
If you travel to Hong Kong often, you could probably use a card like the Asiana Visa Signature® Credit Card by Bank of America. It doesn’t have foreign transaction fees, and you’ll earn miles on your purchases, which you can redeem for flights between the US and Hong Kong.
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.
Remember to check out a travel card to avoid paying foreign transaction fees, and always decline DCC if offered.