1. Credit Cards
2. Mobile Wallet
4. Debit Cards
Consumers today make payments anywhere on the go with just a tap of a finger. It's easier than ever to shop, send payments, or pay bills online.
In less than half a year, about 20 million people in Southeast Asia have become digital consumers in 2021 due to factors such as speed, convenience, and price. This number continues to increase in 2023.
Paying for services or goods or sending money online has never been more convenient with several different payment methods at your disposal.
In this post, we explore the popular payment options that are used in Hong Kong and how they can benefit you in a variety of ways, whether it's for personal or business use.
Credit cards have become increasingly popular around the world in the past couple of years. The popularity of credit cards being used in Hong Kong has also increased.
The HKMA announced that in the fourth quarter of 2022, HK$ 215.9 billion worth of transactions were from credit card use in Hong Kong.
There are many reasons why most consumers choose credit cards as their go-to payment option in Hong Kong. According to a study by VISA, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, most consumers preferred a better and safer alternative to cash, which represented a 36% net increase for credit cards, especially for online purchases during lockdowns.
- Advantages of using credit cards: Credit cards offer a convenient way to make payments, whether it is for business or personal use. Credit card companies, such as Visa or Mastercard, extend their credit to users. It is also a preferred choice because of extra security layers like extended warranties and fraud protection, compared to carrying cash.
- Disadvantages of using credit cards: Using credit cards may offer convenience in terms of payments, but within its perks is the principal downside. Credit cards come with additional charges or fees when you purchase in retail stores, as these fees are levied on merchants by credit card companies. Not being able to make payments on time will also incur additional interest for credit card users, where the percentage charged are varied depending on the credit card companies.
💳 Are you looking for a more convenient option when using credit cards? Explore the benefits of a virtual credit card, its features, and how it works.
Although this type of payment technology isn’t exactly new, it has only gotten more popular since the pre and post-COVID pandemic, which in turn established a boost for this convenient payment method.
As online shopping has become increasingly popular, the number of Mobile POS Payments users in Hong Kong is expected to reach 2.35 million by 2027.
Several options for mobile wallets are commonly used in Hong Kong, namely Alipay, PayMe, Octopus Card, FPS, Apple Pay, WeChat Pay, and PayPal
- Advantages of using a mobile wallet: Many mobile wallets provide you with a secure, fast, and convenient way to make payments online or contactless payments via a brick-and-mortar store. Without carrying a physical card, you are more than likely not to lose them when using mobile wallets to make payments. It also serves as a go-to choice for most consumers in recent years as it offers a better and smarter way to make payments online.
- Disadvantages of using a mobile wallet: Some mobile wallets are still not supported by third-party banks or credit and debit cards. Moreover, merchants who are not a partner or participating in its programs may not be eligible to accept payments via their online or retail store. Another disadvantage of mobile wallets is that the usage is limited by the limits of each user depending on their usage or credit levels, which can sometimes be lower than what other payment methods like credit cards offer.
Let's take a look at some of the most popular mobile wallets and how it works.
Alipay is one of the top choices of mobile wallet payment methods used in Hong Kong. The payment application is supported by none other than Alibaba itself.
It is a payment method that is widely used among different merchants. One of the top features of Alipay is that it supports cross-border payments.
Alipay's ease of use also makes the top-up process pretty easy, where you can top up through convenient stores such as 7-11 or ParknShop. Other benefits of Alipay include P2P transfer, global money transfer, and bill payment.
PayMe is the HSBC-operated payment app that has over 2.9 million active users in Hong Kong.
The app is incredibly convenient to use as you only need to link your bank account or credit card account. Once verified, you can make seamless transfers within seconds.
Some of PayMe's features include sending a payment request to your merchants, credit card binding, P2P transfer payment, Bill payment, and more.
Known as one of the most common physical payment methods in HK, the Octopus card lets users make payments digitally through a reusable value smart card (with cash stored) or through its mobile application.
Besides the standard physical card and mobile app, they also come in many different forms for customers to personalize, including keychains, watches, and many other integrations and commodities, which makes it more diversified than other payment methods on the list.
For business use, Octopus Card allows you to pair your employee's cards to a corporate account managed by a mobile app to help deliver small-time payments or to simply manage petty cash.
Faster Payment System (FPS)
Faster Payment System is developed by the HKMA (Hong Kong Monetary Association) as well as HKICL (Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited), and this mobile payment app first came out in 2018.
The app works by connecting banks and Stored Value Facilities Ordinance (PSSVFO) to provide transactions, connecting over 36 banks and 10 Store Value Facilities (SVF).
The unique thing about it is that it provides multi-currency payments like RMB and HKD in real time. FPS is verified using your phone number or email address to facilitate payments, instead of having account numbers, which makes it safer and more secure.
With FPS, you can use services ranging from P2P transfer, topping up your e-wallets, shopping online, and even making direct debit payments.
Apple Pay offers a convenient way for customers to make contactless payments online or at any retailer. The app stores credit and debit cards amount to be used in-app or on the web through its proprietary Apple Wallet function.
As Apple is known for its highly-secure features, Apple Pay offers you safe and secure features, comprising factors such as Second-factor authentication and a Secure Enclave feature where your information is never shared with merchants.
Its "Tap to Pay" function works with all of its Apple Devices, it supports functions like top-up, credit and debit card payments, cash, PayPal, and mobile phone billing. It supports up to 12 cards in a single Apple ID.
PayPal is used all over the world as it is one of the top mobile wallets that is fast, easy, and secure to use. Likewise in Hong Kong, PayPal HK offers its customers convenience with many features and benefits.
You can link any of your cards and add money to your PayPal account, which will allow you to make secure payments online 24/7. The app also lets you make contactless payments via retail stores that partner with it.
With PayPal, you can make secure and fast payments with functions like top-up, online purchases, bill payments, and more. PayPal also provides users with secure transfers when sending money to a friend or paying for specific services.
WeChat Pay is an integrated payment app that is used via the renowned WeChat app across Hong Kong and China. You can easily make payments via your smartphone with WeChat Pay, which supports different types of payments including Native-In-app purchases, Web-based payments, QR Code payments, and more.
In Hong Kong, WeChat Pay supports different scenarios when using the app, and it also covers up to 26 currencies where it automatically spots exchange rates to get you the best rates available when you make a purchase.
The app allows you to link your bank account, credit, and debit cards. However, in some cases, third-party accounts are yet to be supported.
💡 Tip: Several popular mobile wallets, including Alipay, WeChat Pay, and Octopus, also offer payment gateway solutions for businesses in Hong Kong.
Despite the availability of an extensive amount of alternative payment methods in Hong Kong, cash still remains the most common method of payment for goods in general.
According to a FIS Global report, the amount of usage for cash has decreased in Q4 of 2022 as the number comes down to 11% of cash payments being done on the POS Payment System. This is mainly due to other convenient payment methods that have emerged throughout 2021-2022.
Nevertheless, the key advantage of cash is that it is essentially accepted at all physical stores, making it very easy to use in not only Hong Kong but all around the world.
- Advantages of using cash: It is easy to use on any party involved in a transaction - whether for merchants or for customers. Cash does not require any kind of setup or programs to be used to align with the payment process. Essentially, there are no processing payment fees.
- Disadvantages of using cash: In today's society, cash has lost its charm compared to other payment methods that are more secure and convenient to use, such as mobile wallets or credit cards. It's also becoming uncommon to carry a lot of cash as you can be vulnerable to theft.
In Hong Kong debit cards are provided upon opening a bank account, meaning that nearly everyone should have access to a card. It works by deducting money directly from a client’s bank account (that is linked to the card) when being used to make payments, send money, or shop.
The best thing about using debit cards is that you can’t get into debt, meaning that you can only spend the amount you have in your linked bank account. Debit cards eliminate the need to carry around cash, which could make it much safer when traveling.
Debit cards also have their own security PINS (typically the one you used for ATM withdrawals), and it utilizes international payment systems, the most popular of which are Visa and Mastercard.
- Advantages of using a debit card: Using debit cards keep you from being in debt, unlike credit cards which use credit limits based on your spending history and activities. Debit cards are also widely accepted by retailers, and in some cases have no to low processing fees, which makes it convenient to both the buyer and the seller.
- Disadvantages of using a debit card: There are spending limits on debit cards, which will entirely depend on your checking account balance in order to use them. Debit cards may have limited protection over fraud activities compared to credit cards, and with debit cards, you cannot also build credit scores to increase your spending.
There are several payment methods that are used in Hong Kong. Knowing which one serves you best when it comes to your need can help you evaluate your preference so that you can make payments effectively.
By understanding what each payment method provides, you can identify the pros and cons of using each payment method whether it is for personal or business use. Based on the purpose of using, you can take advantage of the ones that fit your business best, as it will not only help you save time and efficiency but also help you avoid unnecessary hidden fees and charges.
What are the most popular payment methods in Hong Kong?
The most popular payment methods in Hong Kong are credit cards and mobile wallets.
What are the most used mobile wallets in Hong Kong?
What do most people use credit cards for?