Hong Kong Currency: A Traveler’s Guide

January 28, 2022
Hong Kong Currency: A Traveler's Guide

The Hong Kong dollar is the local currency of Hong Kong (HKD). Mainland China’s yuan (RMB) and Macau’s pataca are not used in Hong Kong (MAP).

Foreigners will find it simple to use money in Hong Kong: their cards are commonly accepted, and transactions and ATM withdrawals are simple. Some currency exchanges make it simple to exchange money at good rates.

Interesting Money Facts from Hong Kong

  • In 2019, this region’s population is estimated to be around 7.5 million people, but its currency is the world’s 13th most traded currency.
  • It is regarded as a more stable and secure currency, and its value is currently rising as the value of the US dollar rises.
  • The Hong Kong dollar (HKD) is tied to the US dollar at around 7.80 HKD per 1 USD. The equivalent of HK$ 1.00 in US$ 0.13, or 13 cents, is US$ 0.13.
  • The banknotes are produced by three distinct banks: HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, and Bank of China.

Hong Kong Dollar Banknote/Coin Denominations

Handling Hong Kong paper cash is more familiar to Americans and people of other nations since the denomination values are similar to those in the United States. The most common Hong Kong dollar notes are the $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000 bills. 

There are no $5 HKD or $1 HKD notes, though. These amounts are represented by coins, as well as a handy $10 HKD coin. 

Unlike American dollars, though, the money is multicolored. The $10 bill is green or purple, the $20 bill is dark blue or light blue (old or new), the $50 bill is purple or green, the $100 bill is red, the $500 bill is brown, and the $1,000 bill is yellow.

The 10 cent coins are made of bronze and are very small. The bronze 20 cent coins have a wavy edge. The 50 cent coins are larger and bronze in appearance. 

The 1 Hong Kong Dollar coin is silver, thin, and big. The silver 2 HKD coins are big and have a wavy edge. 

The 5 HKD coins are silver, thick, and huge, while the handy 10 HKD coins are unique in that they are little but thick and weighty, with a bronze core and silver rim.

Hong Kong’s ATMs

Travelers will have no difficulty finding and using ATMs because they are located across the country, with the exception of rural places such as the countryside or tiny settlements. 

Any town with a population of a few thousand individuals will have ATMs.

ATMs can be located on practically every city street, as well as in bank offices, supermarkets, convenience stores, and metro stations. They are open 24 hours a day. 

They accept international cards and provide English and Chinese instructions. In most cases, consumers can withdraw quantities of $300 or $400. (4,000 HKD).

People should verify with their home country banks and conduct some searching to identify ATMs that will provide them the best conversion rates and costs for their particular card. 

Depending on their relationships with foreign banks, different banks and financial networks provide varying rates.

  • Please consult our ATM guide for details on using Chinese ATMs on the Mainland, which can be problematic.
  • Check out our Currency Converter for the most up-to-date information on China exchange rates.

In Hong Kong, how do you pay for things?

Other than using Hong Kong dollar cash, there are a variety of ways to pay for things in Hong Kong:

  • Wherever credit/debit cards and travelers’ checks are accepted,
  • Apple Pay, as well as Chinese-based apps like WeChat Pay and AliPay, are examples of payment apps.
  • the Octopus Card, a locally developed payment method
  • Wherever Chinese RMB cash is accepted, it is accepted.

What is the best way to exchange money in Hong Kong?

Travelers can easily exchange foreign currency for Hong Kong dollars because there are several currency exchange offices and ATMs located across the city. It is only in isolated areas, such as the countryside or local housing districts, that currency exchange locations may be difficult to come across.

Currency exchange counters are open from early morning to late at night at Hong Kong International Airport. Many establishments in the city remain open late.

Because of the high level of competition, the best rates can be found in Tsim Sha Tsui and Nathan Road. However, costs vary, and better currency exchange rates can be found immediately behind the main tourist thoroughfares, on smaller streets frequented by locals and Chinese. 

The small currency exchanges near the entrance of Chungking Mansion on Nathan Road offer fairly competitive currency conversion rates without any additional fees, and their rates are better than most other exchange windows in Tsim Sha Tsui. 

Inside, the rates are roughly the same. However, they do not advertise the best bargain in the neighborhood. You can obtain a better deal on the side streets near the building at little storefront exchanges.

Inter-Bank Transfers: Expensive

In comparison to mainland China, where there are numerous rules and various money transfer methods are restricted or unlawful, the money transfer situation in Hong Kong is significantly easier. If you need to send or receive money, 

Hong Kong may be a better option than China. Inter-bank transfer, online money transfer, and international money transfer firm offices are all options.

You’ll find that interbank transfers are comparatively easy in HK. However, the exchange rate (often about 1 USD per 5.8 HKD or a 2 HKD loss per US dollar) can be quite unfavorable, and the bank fees might be quite high (20 USD per 1,000 for example) depending on the banks involved. So you might lose a lot of money by inter-bank transfer. 

BottomlineSome Money Cautionary Advice

In crowded Hong Kong, be cautious with your money.

Pickpockets: Keep your money well secured and concealed in crowded streets, trains, buses, and other places where masses swarm. Keep a close eye on your possessions. 

When you’re out to eat or shop, keep your valuables near to you and don’t leave them in places where they could be snatched

Bargaining is a component of the culture of the street markets. Always remember to haggle. 

As a foreigner, you are a target for price hikes, particularly in tourist areas, markets, and side streets. When one vendor refuses to negotiate, you can try bargaining with other vendors.

Compare prices: Prices in supermarkets and large stores are listed, and there is no room for haggling. To obtain a sense of what a decent bargain is, do a lot of comparison shopping.