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What is the local currency?
The Hong Kong dollar.
What denominations does it come in?
Notes are issued by three different banks. This means there may be three different notes for the same denomination. The HK$10 note is the only note issued by the Hong Kong government.
Coins are 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, HK$1, HK$2, HK$5 and HK$10.
What is the best way to exchange currency?
Go to banks during working hours, including half days on Saturdays. Money changers are also available in shopping areas, hotels and the airport, although their rates may not be as favorable as the bank. Limited amount of larger stores may accept foreign currency, but again, the exchange rate may be poor.
What are commonly-used forms of payment for everyday purchases (such as groceries)?
Cash, credit cards and bank cards. The local stored-value "Octopus" card (a smart debit card) can be used for small purchases in many convenience stores and cafes and all transportation (except taxis), vending machines and some retail stores and cafes/restaurants.
Will I be able to use my credit card around town? If not, list when I’ll need cash.
Yes, most places take credit cards. Some may require you to spend a minimum amount before your card is accepted, usually HK$100.
The wet markets, street stalls and such will not have credit facilities, so these are strictly on a cash basis, somtimes Octopus card is accepted. For transport, use either cash only or the stored-value Octopus card (see below), which can be purchased with a credit card at the MTR stations. Taxis are usually cash as the Octopus card payment method still has not been fully introducted to the taxi service.
By what method are bills (such as rent and utilities) paid?
One of the more popular methods is the PPS which requires a bank account. Standing instructions are accepted, as well as the usual check, cash, Internet and ATM machine modes. Most utility bills can also be paid at convenience stores or post offices. Certainly, a bank transfer or direct debit options also apply.
What are the requirements for opening a bank account? At what stage of the settling-in process should I open it?
Opening a local account in Hong Kong is easy. In most major banks such as HSBC or Hang Seng Bank, they will require your passport and a proof of address when opening a bank account. However, different banks or types of accounts may require additional documents or paperwork, sometimes minimum amount of deposit is also needed for opening an account. Please check with your bank manager for details.
For convenience, it is always best to open an account as soon as possible, as there are numerous deposits to pay in the initial settling-in phase (i.e., utilities, mobile phone and subscriptions).
Will foreign residents be able to find banking services in their native languages?
English, Mandarin and Cantonese are the languages used in banking. Staff at major banks, such as HSBC, will speak English.
Are there any restrictions on services for those who are new to your country?
Some nationals will take a bit of time in getting approval to open a bank account. US nationals may have restrictions in opening investment related accounts.
What are typical banking hours?
While it varies from bank to bank, most are open within these times:
Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
Closed on Sunday and public holiday
Are automatic teller machines (ATMs) available around the clock?
Is there any other money information that might help me?
The Octopus card is a stored-value debit card that is extremely useful for public transport on buses, MTR, trams and ferries. This card can be purchased at MTR stations and topped up at these stations or at the 7-Eleven or Circle-K convenience stores as well as supermarkets. Some retail outlets such as McDonald's and Starbucks also accept the Octopus card. The maximum spend on these cards is currently HK$500.
Keep in mind that there is a marketing effort aimed at encouraging consumers to use credit cards. The advantage is that these cards can carry substantial discounts at restaurants and shopping centers. Therefore, these offers may be worthwhile to investigate and the best way is to visit the banks' website.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.