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Cash vs. Credit in HK

Cash vs. Credit in HK

Old Sep 17, 19, 1:06 pm
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Cash vs. Credit in HK

I'm debating how much HKD to bring with me on my upcoming trip to Hong Kong. Do most places accept credit cards there? Or should I plan on a cash heavy trip for meals, souvenirs, MTR, activities, etc.?
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Old Sep 17, 19, 3:59 pm
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Hi,

Most of the larger stores will take credit cards but the markets stalls and street food will be cash only. However if you use your Octopus card ( travel card for the MTR, ferries , buses etc) you can use it at a lot of shops also ( ie 7-11s )

Regards

TBS
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Old Sep 17, 19, 4:16 pm
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Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot View Post
Hi,

Most of the larger stores will take credit cards but the markets stalls and street food will be cash only. However if you use your Octopus card ( travel card for the MTR, ferries , buses etc) you can use it at a lot of shops also ( ie 7-11s )

Regards

TBS
Can the Octopus card be loaded with a credit card? If so, where/how?
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Old Sep 17, 19, 4:43 pm
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Originally Posted by GNRMatt View Post
I'm debating how much HKD to bring with me on my upcoming trip to Hong Kong. Do most places accept credit cards there? Or should I plan on a cash heavy trip for meals, souvenirs, MTR, activities, etc.?
It is actually a YMMV situation. Some small stores/kiosks do accept credit cards. However, at the same time, there are major chains that do not accept credit cards.

Do you have a no-fee ATM card like the one from Charles Schwab Bank? These cards generally solves the cash issue because it has a favorable exchange rate without fee.

Originally Posted by GNRMatt View Post
Can the Octopus card be loaded with a credit card? If so, where/how?
Not for you.

Octopus allows the use of credit card by Automatic Add Value Service (AAVS) only. And AAVS requires a credit card issued in Hong Kong.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 6:20 pm
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You can always withdrawal some cash from an ATM (off the top of my head, some no fee ones - Schwab, Fidelity, First Republic and/or Citi Gold), and load some onto an Oct card before leaving HKG. Between CC & Oct card, you won't need that much cash.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 6:33 pm
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Originally Posted by GNRMatt View Post
I'm debating how much HKD to bring with me on my upcoming trip to Hong Kong. Do most places accept credit cards there? Or should I plan on a cash heavy trip for meals, souvenirs, MTR, activities, etc.?
As others have said, if your own bank has customer friendly policies, just use ATMs to withdraw cash as needed.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 6:51 pm
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Thanks for the tips! What about at a place like Disneyland? Are credit cards accepted at all the restaurants and shops there?
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Old Sep 17, 19, 8:19 pm
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Originally Posted by GNRMatt View Post
Thanks for the tips! What about at a place like Disneyland? Are credit cards accepted at all the restaurants and shops there?
Disneyland is definitely cards over cash.

(Note - the operation of Disneyland Hong Kong is not much difference from the rest of the Disneylands in the world, except Shanghai.)
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Old Sep 17, 19, 11:57 pm
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Originally Posted by GNRMatt View Post
I'm debating how much HKD to bring with me on my upcoming trip to Hong Kong.
(emphasis mine)

It seldom makes sense to obtain foreign currency before traveling. Unless for some reason you don't have a card with favourable policies, just use an ATM once you're there. Cash foreign exchange rates are almost always inferior to just using an ATM. Often you're better off using an ATM than exchanging cash even if you pay a small fee to your bank. As long as there's no fixed portion to the fee, this also allows you to take small amounts out as you need them, rather than trying to guess how much you need before you leave.

Edited to add: remember not to let the ATM do the currency conversion for you though!
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Old Sep 18, 19, 3:20 am
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Note also that taxis are HK$ cash only, so if you plan to use those to get around then you will need cash. ATMs are everywhere.

There are machines at the airport where you can buy an Octopus card using a credit card, but after that any top-ups need to be cash.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 3:58 am
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There are broad categories of businesses -- taxis, travel agents, smaller restaurants, market stalls, computer/electronics shops, pop-ups, mom&pops, etc -- which either don't take cards or impose a surcharge. Of course you could easily enough avoid these. But HK is nothing like the Mainland when it comes to cash-free living.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 7:13 am
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Regarding ATMs - I often see an option, at least advertised, to request either HKD or RMB; however, the RMB option is never appears available for me. Either there's a reason or I'm doing something wrong. Is there a trick or something I'm missing?

Last edited by l etoile; Sep 18, 19 at 11:53 am Reason: Removed reference to deleted post
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Old Sep 18, 19, 7:47 am
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Another choice is Apple Pay or Contactless credit cards as a payment option.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 8:17 am
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Originally Posted by bobbytables View Post
(emphasis mine)

It seldom makes sense to obtain foreign currency before traveling. Unless for some reason you don't have a card with favourable policies, just use an ATM once you're there. Cash foreign exchange rates are almost always inferior to just using an ATM. Often you're better off using an ATM than exchanging cash even if you pay a small fee to your bank. As long as there's no fixed portion to the fee, this also allows you to take small amounts out as you need them, rather than trying to guess how much you need before you leave.

Edited to add: remember not to let the ATM do the currency conversion for you though!
Sorry, it generally makes sense to obtain foreign currency before travelling because the rate we get from the bank by e-banking exchange, then taking cash directly from the foreign currency account from the bank, is generally cheaper than using an ATM abroad, because the bank charges a fixed fee per withdrawal and also a spread if Visa / MasterCard network is used.

However, it is extremely inconvenient because very few banks offer foreign currency ATMs (I know only HSBC and Hang Seng Bank), so you need to visit the bank in person in order to get cash, and the supply of cash may not exist in certain branches especially for less popular currencies such as SEK.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 8:20 am
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Originally Posted by Visconti View Post

Regarding ATMs - I often see an option, at least advertised, to request either HKD or RMB; however, the RMB option is never appears available for me. Either there's a reason or I'm doing something wrong. Is there a trick or something I'm missing?
https://www.jetco.com.hk/en/atm/cash...n-hk-and-macau

* For RMB cash withdrawal, customers may withdraw RMB notes from their RMB account through the ATMs of their own bank only. Some JETCO ATMs offer an RMB exchange service that enables customers to withdraw RMB notes from non-RMB accounts. The currency conversion rate is displayed on the ATM screen and can be confirmed before the transaction. There may be a service charge. Customers should check with the card issuing bank for more details.
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Last edited by l etoile; Sep 18, 19 at 11:56 am
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