Hong Kong is known as a financial capital of the world, so visitors there don’t need to worry too much about being able to access their money. While debit and credit cards are pretty widely accepted, you’ll still want cash to visit the street markets or a hole-in-the-wall dim sum spot, so read on to learn about how to find and use an ATM in Hong Kong.
The short answer: everywhere. ATMs are in airports and train stations, banks and supermarkets, convenience stores and on the street. If you need an ATM, you don’t need to go far to find one. Visa and Mastercard holders should be able to successfully use just about any ATM in Hong Kong, but American Express cardholders will want to look for Aeon ATMs specifically, which are most often found at MTR stations and Circle K convenience stores. The best and most common ATMs can be found with these tools:
US, UK and Australian cards should work with no problem. If you’re having trouble and want to find a specific network’s ATM, use one of these tools:
- Maestro ATM locator
- Mastercard and Cirrus ATM locator
- Visa, Plus, and Plus Alliance ATM locator
- Discover ATM locator
- American Express ATM locator
Travellers have reported successfully using four- and six-digit PINs with their ATM cards in Hong Kong, so you should be able to use either without any trouble. Hong Kong started to transition from magnetic strips to chip and PIN cards in 2013, but magnetic swipe cards are still common all over China and are accepted in Hong Kong.
The maximum amount you can withdraw from an ATM in Hong Kong will vary, but expect around HK$20,000 per transaction. If you need more than that, you may need to make multiple withdrawals at different ATMs.
You should always let your bank know before you travel, so international activity on your cards won’t be considered suspicious and cause the bank to shut them down. You definitely don’t want to lose access to your money in the middle of an international trip.
You can also find out if your bank has a daily spending or cash withdrawal limit, and request to temporarily raise it if you plan on taking out large amounts of cash to use in Hong Kong.
We all wish ATMs use were free, but the reality is there will probably be fees. Here are some tips and tricks for keeping them as low as possible.
When you use your foreign card at a Hong Kong ATM, it may offer you the “helpful” service of showing the transaction in your home currency instead of Hong Kong dollars. This service, called dynamic currency conversion or DCC, actually lets the ATM set its own exchange rate, which may be poorer than the mid-market rate, or the rate you see when you Google it. This means you’re responsible for paying for the exchange rate markup. To avoid this fee, you should always choose to view transactions in the local currency, even though it seems more convenient to use a currency you know well.
ATMs may charge withdrawal fees. Your home bank may also charge fees -- a flat fee or a percentage as a withdrawal fee, or foreign transaction fees. You should check with your bank ahead of time so you know what fees to expect.
Your best bet is to avoid fees imposed by your home bank. Use an ATM that’s in the same network as your card. Choose a card with no foreign transaction fees, or that reimburses you for ATM fees. You can also try to make fewer, larger withdrawals so you don’t get stuck paying for multiple flat fees, though that won’t help you if your fees are a percentage of your withdrawal. Always remember to pay in the local currency to avoid DCC fees.
If you or someone you know has access to a bank account in Hong Kong, transfer money there ahead of time with TransferWise. TransferWise is different. Its smart new technology skips hefty international transfer fees by connecting local bank accounts all around the world. Which means you can save up to 8x by using TransferWise rather than your bank when you send your money abroad.
Check out how to make your first transfer with TransferWise. And give it a try.
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These tips and tricks should make accessing your money during your time in Hong Kong a breeze. Safe travels!
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