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5 Popular Payment Methods in Hong Kong

hong kong payment methods

If you are interested in starting a company in Hong Kong, you definitely have to be aware of the most common payment methods that should be made available to your customers.

The number of payment methods available nowadays can be quite overwhelming to most people, making it hard to narrow down and find out the best payment methods for your business. 

This article aims to assist those interested in starting a company in Hong Kong in choosing the best payment methods available to optimize the payment process for not only the company itself but customers as well. 

Debit Cards

To start things off, let’s get the most widely used payment method out of the way. In Hong Kong debit cards are provided upon opening a bank account, meaning that nearly everyone should have access to a card.

For those who are unaware, debit cards deduct money directly from a client’s bank account (that is linked to the card).

This is a near-instantaneous process that happens upon the instruction of payment. 

When using debit cards, you can’t get into debt, meaning that you can only spend the amount you have in your linked bank account.

The main points are as follows:

  • Debit cards eliminate the need to carry around cash, which could make it much safer when traveling
  • In order to use a debit card, you may need to use a PIN code - typically the same one used with ATMs
  • Debit cards utilize international payment systems, the most popular of which being Visa and Mastercard

Credit Cards

Credit cards have become increasingly popular around the world in the past couple of years.

However, interestingly, credit cards are far less common in Hong Kong than in other countries.

The exact reason for the proportionally small amount of credit cards per capita in Hong Kong is unknown, though many people do avoid using credit cards over debit cards because of their various disadvantages.

At first glance, a credit card may be very desirable because: 

  • Credit cards tend to come with a sign-up bonus. New users can get up to $500 for free upon signing up for a card
  • Travel benefits - Credit card users can gain access to VIP travel lounges, get discounts for airline tickets and reimbursements for hotels depending on their credit score
  • Cash rewards - credit cards can pay between 1.5-2% cash back upon making purchases. 
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1. Debt 

Debt is by far the biggest disadvantage when it comes to credit cards.

It is often overlooked, as most would agree that having the ability to spend more money than you currently possess sounds like a great deal.

But considering that over 40% of all American households carry credit card debt, the odds that you too will have to pay back credit card debt are fairly high. 

2. Interest

Secondly, credit cards have high-interest rates, meaning that if you do or can not pay off your card, the amount needed to pay it off will increase significantly over time.

Overspending is also another problem faced by credit card users as it is very tempting to spend money made easily available to you.

Though credit cards are very useful to own, it is advisable to only apply for one (regardless of which country you are based in) if you are disciplined in your spending.

Popular credit card providers in Hong Kong include: Citibank, DBS Bank, and American Express


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.

A 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. 

Digital Wallets

Although this type of payment technology isn’t exactly new, it has only gotten more popular till COVID happened.

So, the pandemic in turn really acted as a booster for this convenient payment method. 

Here are a few popular digital wallets in Hong Kong and their pros and cons.

1. PayMe

When talking about digital wallets, the first thing that most people have on their phone (mine included), is probably PayMe.

The HSBC-operated payment app has already gained over 2 million users just in Hong Kong alone.

What made it so popular is that all you need to do is just to link the application either to your bank account or credit card account, then within just a tap of a button, you can do a seamless transfer within seconds.

You can also use it to split a dinner bill with your friends or you can send a payment request to your merchants. 

Here are a few functions you can use with PayMe:

  • Credit card binding
  • Online payment 
  • P2P transfer payment
  • Bill payment
  • Top-up 
  • Merchant payment 

2. AlipayHK

Another popular payment method is probably Alipay.

The payment application is supported by none other than Alibaba itself.

While PayMe is mostly done between individuals and limited merchants options, Alipay, however, is more widely used among different merchants.

In fact, you can even use Alipay for paying a minibus fare. 

And for that reason, it has gained over 50,000 merchants to join already and one special feature they have is that you can also do cross-border payment. 

If you’re an active Taobao or TMall shopper, then more good news to you: there’s also a handling fee waiver if you spend on an AlipayHK account.

The top-up process is also pretty easy.

You can do it through any 7-11, McDonald's, or even ParknShop, literally anywhere around the corner. 

There are also some other benefits they have:

  • Credit card binding
  • Top-up
  • Merchant payment
  • P2P transfer payment
  • Global money transfer
  • Bill payment

3. Apple Pay

And there it goes the payment app that EVERYBODY uses - Apple Pay.

It’s a pretty universal payment app that is not news to most of us.

The good thing about it is that it can link to 8 different debit cards AND credit cards.

With Apple Pay, you can use it to pay in over 10,000 different retail shops, grocery shops, and many others. 

Just like any other Apple product, payment security is absolutely top-notched. It generates a device-specific number.

You’re also given a special one-time transaction code to double the privacy you get.

You can also use it to check your Octopus AAVS balance and add money in there with whatever credit or debit card you prefer. 

Here are a few more functions that it does:

  • Credit card and debit card binding
  • Online payment  
  • Top-up 

4. Octopus card

That is probably one of the most common physical payment methods in HK.

Although it’s more known for the physical card, now they have moved to a more digitized form.

Now you can download their mobile app to do payments. 

Besides the standard physical card and mobile app, they also come in many different forms for customers to personalize it like keychains, watches, and many other integrations and commodities, which makes it more different and diversified than other payment methods we have here. 

As a business, you can pair your employee's octopus cards to a corporate account managed by a mobile app to help deliver small-time payment options to them or to make it easier to spread and manage petty cash.

5. FPS (Faster Payment System)

It first came out in 2018 by the HKMA (Hong Kong Monetary Association) as well as HKICL (Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited).

The unique thing about it is that it provides multi-currency payments like RMB and HKD in real time. 

To make it even safer and more secure, you can just use your phone number or email address to send in the payment instead of using the actual account number.

You can also do direct debit payments online.

Also, it uses the Payment Systems and Stored Value Facilities Ordinance (PSSVFO) which tops it all off with whole security measures.


What are the top payment methods in Hong Kong?


What are the common digital wallets in Hong Kong?


When was FPS introduced?


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