How to Use Cash, Octopus, Mastercard/Visa Cards Travelling to Hong Kong
by: The Beat Asia
April 09, 2023
Hong Kong is a popular tourist destination with visitors from all over the world. It is a city that is renowned for its bustling streets, towering skyscrapers, and vibrant culture. One of the most important things to consider when traveling to Hong Kong is how to manage your money.
Our guide will provide you with an overview of the different payment methods available in Hong Kong and evaluate the uses of all types of currencies for all types of situations on your next trip!
Using cash when travelling to Hong Kong
Cash is widely accepted in Hong Kong, and it is always advisable to carry some cash with you for small purchases and transactions. Hong Kong dollars (HKD) are the local currency, and it is recommended that you exchange your currency for HKD before arriving in Hong Kong.
Most banks and currency exchange bureaus offer competitive exchange rates, and you can also withdraw cash from ATMs using your debit card. However, be aware that some smaller establishments may not accept large denomination notes, so it is always best to carry smaller notes and coins.
Buy an Octopus transit card to make public transportation easier for you
Octopus cards are a prepaid smart card system that is widely used for public transportation in Hong Kong. These cards can be used on buses, trains, trams, and ferries, and they can also be used to pay for purchases at some retail outlets and vending machines.
Octopus cards can be purchased and topped up at MTR stations, convenience stores, and other locations throughout Hong Kong. The convenience of using an Octopus card is that you can avoid the hassle of buying individual tickets for each mode of transportation, and you can also benefit from discounted fares.
Pay with Visa and Mastercard debit/credit cards on big payments
Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards are widely accepted in Hong Kong, and they are a convenient way to make larger purchases or withdrawals of cash from ATMs. It is important to note that some smaller establishments may not accept card payments, so it is always advisable to carry some cash with you.
Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay are accepted across the city. Visitors from Mainland China will also find that AliPay and WeChat Pay digital wallets and UnionPay bank cards are also widely accepted at most retail outlets.
While card fraud, such as skimming, is very uncommon in Hong Kong. It's always advisable to pay with digital wallets where possible (such as Apple Pay) for an added layer of security.
Additionally, you may incur foreign transaction fees when using your card abroad, so it is always best to check with your bank before traveling.
Evaluating the uses of all types of currencies when travelling to Hong Kong
When traveling to Hong Kong, it is important to consider the different types of currencies that you may need to use. In addition to the local currency (HKD), you may also need to use US dollars (USD) or Chinese yuan (CNY) for some transactions.
USD is widely accepted in Hong Kong, particularly for larger purchases such as hotel bookings or restaurant bills. CNY is also widely accepted in some areas of Hong Kong, particularly in Kowloon and the New Territories.
However, it is important to note that you may not get the best exchange rate when using USD or CNY, so it is always best to check the exchange rate before making a transaction.
Get the latest curated content with The Beat Asia's newsletters. Sign up now for a weekly dose of the best stories, events, and deals delivered straight to your inbox. Don't miss out! Click here to subscribe.