Hong Kong - CurrencyATMs are available in many parts of Hong Kong - ensure you inform your bank before travelling abroad, and be aware you may be charged for cash withdrawals. It is advisable to exchange some cash before arriving in Hong Kong.
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Hong Kong - Notes and Coins
Hong Kong Currency Exchange
The currency of the realm is the Hong Kong Dollar, but if you don't have any on hand when you arrive don't be too terribly concerned as there is a saying that says "there are more banks than rice stalls in Hong Kong" and that isn't too far off from the truth. As with travel anywhere in or out of your home country be sure to investigate service fees and exchange rates to ensure that you aren't being taken for more than a vacation.
A commission is charged by banks and currency conversion centers as well as any other facility that offers exchange services. It is legally required that exchange rates be displayed prominently in any location that offers this service so you are well advised to check these charts before conducting any exchange business in Hong Kong or elsewhere.
You should also be aware that the ATMs in Hong Kong are equipped to dispense local currency from your American Express, Visa or MasterCard accounts.
There is no shortage of ATM machines in Hong Kong and they can be found nearly everywhere. Most are linked to the standard money databases that most of us are familiar with (Cirrus, PLUS, Maestro, Vis Electron). In addition Visa and MasterCard users have access to HSBC Electronic Money machines while American Express users may use either Jetco or Express Cash ATMs.
If you prefer plastic, the same cards you use at home are probably accepted in Hong Kong as well. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and JCB are accepted but you should always make an effort to write "HK" in front of the dollar sign in the event it is not already imprinted there.
It is wise to carry two cards from two different companies (i.e. one Visa, one American Express) and to also have traveler's checks on hand in the event that something happens to your cards. Some stores even offer a discount for using cash or traveler's checks - a way of getting by with increased charges for using credit cards.
Lost and/or stolen cards should be reported to the issuing company immediately as well as to the police at 2527 7177. Because you will not have the back of the card to rely upon, you should always keep a list of the issuing bank's telephone numbers somewhere secure that is away from your wallet or purse.
Travelerâ€™s Checks are another popular option. While they do offer an increased protection from being left without money in the event of a theft, traveler's checks are becoming more rarely used because there are so many ATMs available around the world these days. Be aware that nearly any bank in Hong Kong will charge a fee to cash in a traveler's check regardless of whether or not you are an account holder. In some cases this will be a flat fee while others will charge a percentage.
Lost or stolen traveler's checks should be reported immediately. American Express can be contacted at 3002 1275 and are known to issue replacement checks in 24 hours in most cases.
There are no controls on currency in Hong Kong, meaning that you can bring or send in as much money as you like and you can likewise take out as much as you choose. When it comes to exchanging your currency in Hong Kong there are a few things you should know before your visit. First, understand that the fees charged are usually lowered based on larger amounts of money changing hands.
Exchanging currency in Hong Kong banks is usually the best financial option as they generally offer the lowest rates. There are notable exceptions to this rule, both Hang Seng and Standard Chartered Banks add a commission fee of $50 to each transaction to everyone who does not have an account with their banks. Even worse is HSBC who levies a fee of $100.
Licensed exchange facilities are plentiful, especially the company Chequepoint. What they offer in convenience (they are open in the evenings and on weekends) they take back in low exchange rates which are generally the equivalent of a five percent commission anyway. Rates are posted clearly as required by law and prior to actually making any exchange the money changer must first have you sign a form acknowledging the amount you are to receive along with the agreed upon rate of exchange and any fees that may be associated.
You are best to avoid exchanging currencies at the airport where the fees will usually be among the highest available. Likewise, hotel exchange rates are not much of an improvement.
Please keep in mind that there is no black market for foreign currency in Hong Kong. Should someone approach you on the street to exchange currency chances are good that it is some sort of scam and should be avoided at all costs.
The exchange rate has remained fairly stable since the mid '80s with an average of HK$7-8 per U.S. dollar. Please be further advised that coins are not allowable for exchange of currency and that rates may be different for the exchange of traveler's checks.
In general, banks in Hong Kong will be open from 9:00 am until 4:30 pm on weekdays (Monday through Friday) and from 9:00 am until 12:30 pm on Saturdays. Banks will not be open on Sundays or public holidays, though you may find that some banks are open longer hours than what is listed above.