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Credit card/cash in HK

Credit card/cash in HK

Old Aug 5, 2023, 9:41 pm
  #1  
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Credit card/cash in HK

Hi folks, going to Hong Kong for the first time soon. Asking for advice about payment methods, must-download apps, etc.

1. what's the best payment method in HK? Is a US credit card works well in most merchants/transportation? Or HK Dollar is better? I heard `octopus card` is mostly accepted in HK. Where to get the card and can I fund the card by depositing US cash?
2. is there Uber-similar apps for a taxi in HK? What are some useful apps which are good to have before visiting?

Thanks!
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Old Aug 6, 2023, 5:25 am
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Credit cards (Visa/Master/UnionPay) work well in most locations. Contactless is important though - not sure all US cards have that yet. The main things that don't take credit cards are very local eateries and taxis (a few taxis do, but not enough to find one reliably).

All buses (but not minibuses - although tourists in general don't use these) now take contactless credit cards as payment, however the MTR (subway) system doesn't. In general it still makes sense to get an Octopus card, but in general these can only be topped up using HK$ cash (US$ cash is not accepted as a payment mechanism in HK any more than HK$ cash is accepted in the US). You can get an Octopus card at any MTR customer service centre (the most obvious place being at the airport). There are several ATMs at HK Airport where you can get HK$ cash. Choose one that is from a major bank (HSBC Bank of China, Hang Seng) and you will not be charged any fees by the HK bank for the withdrawal. You need to check with your US bank what they charge for overseas foreign currency withdrawals.

If you have a recent iPhone then you can also get an Octopus as an app on that phone. Otherwise do not get a physical "Tourist" Octopus unless you want the card as a souvenir - just get a normal "on-loan" Octopus and remember to hand it in at the airport before you leave to get a refund of the deposit and remaining credit.

Uber exists in HK. Strictly it is illegal, but the government very rarely cracks down, and only then on the drivers not the passengers. It tends to be slightly more expensive than just hailing a taxi and paying cash.
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Old Aug 6, 2023, 10:23 pm
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Originally Posted by PaulC852
Uber exists in HK. Strictly it is illegal, but the government very rarely cracks down, and only then on the drivers not the passengers. It tends to be slightly more expensive than just hailing a taxi and paying cash.
Uber Ubers might be illegal, but there are also Uber taxis and these are 100% legal.
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Old Aug 7, 2023, 3:58 am
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Originally Posted by tauphi
Uber Ubers might be illegal, but there are also Uber taxis and these are 100% legal.
This is true, but Uber taxis are less common than non-Uber taxis, so waiting for one for the convenience of paying by credit card vs just hailing one and paying cash is a subjective call.
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Old Aug 7, 2023, 1:09 pm
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I have never had an issue taking Uber in HK, but sometimes it's faster just to grab a taxi (in which case can confirm you generally need cash).

Contactless cards are widely accepted as noted above but many places (mostly local stores but occasionally even like a regional chain in a mall) are "cash or Octopus." To add to the above, you can refill your Octopus via the app I believe if you happen to have an HK bank account linked to it.

I have encountered some cash only situations in stores/restaurants but in that case we're usually talking about remote island villages and such.
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Old Aug 10, 2023, 9:57 pm
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Thank you! Knowledging octopus is in the Apple app store is so helpful, but seems it requires a hong kong local number to register.
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Old Aug 10, 2023, 10:53 pm
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Originally Posted by EDWARD12321
Thank you! Knowledging octopus is in the Apple app store is so helpful, but seems it requires a hong kong local number to register.
You need the other Octopus app - the one for tourists. See https://www.octopus.com.hk/en/consum...pay/index.html for more details.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1505492952
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Old Aug 13, 2023, 1:57 am
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Originally Posted by PaulC852
Credit cards (Visa/Master/UnionPay) work well in most locations. Contactless is important though - not sure all US cards have that yet. The main things that don't take credit cards are very local eateries and taxis (a few taxis do, but not enough to find one reliably).

All buses (but not minibuses - although tourists in general don't use these) now take contactless credit cards as payment, however the MTR (subway) system doesn't. In general it still makes sense to get an Octopus card, but in general these can only be topped up using HK$ cash (US$ cash is not accepted as a payment mechanism in HK any more than HK$ cash is accepted in the US). You can get an Octopus card at any MTR customer service centre (the most obvious place being at the airport). There are several ATMs at HK Airport where you can get HK$ cash. Choose one that is from a major bank (HSBC Bank of China, Hang Seng) and you will not be charged any fees by the HK bank for the withdrawal. You need to check with your US bank what they charge for overseas foreign currency withdrawals.

If you have a recent iPhone then you can also get an Octopus as an app on that phone. Otherwise do not get a physical "Tourist" Octopus unless you want the card as a souvenir - just get a normal "on-loan" Octopus and remember to hand it in at the airport before you leave to get a refund of the deposit and remaining credit.

Uber exists in HK. Strictly it is illegal, but the government very rarely cracks down, and only then on the drivers not the passengers. It tends to be slightly more expensive than just hailing a taxi and paying cash.
Doesn't the Octopus app have a higher FX fee?
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Old Aug 15, 2023, 9:05 pm
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Got it, thx!
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Old Aug 16, 2023, 5:32 pm
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OP, Beware of the DCC scam when using credit cards. Dynamic Currency Conversion is used to let the CC clearing service set a nasty (unfavorable) exchange rate and make the charge in USD.

I recall USD conversion being the default when using my US CC there.

Solution: ALWAYS select HKD for the transaction at the CC machine.
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Old Sep 3, 2023, 10:04 am
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What other apps are necessary other than the octopus(tourist version)? Is Google map is enough for communication?
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Old Sep 3, 2023, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by EDWARD12321
What other apps are necessary other than the octopus(tourist version)? Is Google map is enough for communication?
Google Maps works. The only thing I'd say is that HK can be complicated to navigate as a city: many malls with multiple stories and footbridges connecting them at different levels, and that can be difficult to see or understand completely on a primarily 2D app like Google Maps. But there's not really a good app for mastering this 3D environment that I know of.

For restaurant reviews and bookings, sometimes OpenRice has more available, but a lot of it is not in English. The photos can be helpful though. Can look at this on web too - app itself not strictly necessary.
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Old Sep 3, 2023, 10:49 pm
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Originally Posted by US HK UK flyer
...
For restaurant reviews and bookings, sometimes OpenRice has more available, but a lot of it is not in English. The photos can be helpful though. Can look at this on web too - app itself not strictly necessary.
Not only is OpenRice is predominantly in Chinese the content is also base on Hong Konger's palate
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Old Sep 10, 2023, 6:53 pm
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Originally Posted by tentseller
Not only is OpenRice is predominantly in Chinese the content is also base on Hong Konger's palate
And their expectations for service. You'll see many a one-star review because the server glared at the customer, or they had to wait to be seated.
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 5:59 am
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A visa/master and a Octopus, are enough for u to go everywhere in Hong Kong
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