Debit cards and prepaid credit cards haven’t always been the most popular payment options in Hong Kong, but the options are growing and getting more attractive.
Whether you’re a Hong Kong resident or a traveller who needs a local credit card for online shopping, here are some options you can consider.
Prepaid credit cards
O! ePay Mastercard
While the Octopus card is ubiquitous in Hong Kong, Octopus Mastercard isn’t as widely known.
O! ePay Mastercard is a digital prepaid credit card powered by the Octopus Company and Mastercard.
Getting one couldn’t be easier. You can apply for one using a button on the Octopus App. The Lite version doesn’t require any documentation—just a mobile number and an email address. The maximum value you can store on the card is limited to HKD 3,000. You can increase the amount to HKD 10,000 if you are 18 years old or over and can provide documentation. There will also be a limit on how much you can spend on the card for the year.
You can top up at any 7-Eleven convenience store or using FPS (Faster Payment System)—an electronic transfer payment system created and monitored by the Hong Kong Government Monetary Authority.
Tap & Go
Tap & Go is a mobile wallet that can be used as a prepaid Mastercard or UnionPay card.
It is also one of the partners of the Hong Kong Government’s Consumption Voucher Scheme. That means you can use it to receive the HK$5,000.00 offered by the local government during the designated period.
One of the selling points of Tap & Go is that you can switch between HKD and RMB if you have a Tap & Go UnionPay account. It also allows you to send money to or receive money from others via FPS.
The account is available for anyone with a Hong Kong, Macau or China ID card and mobile number.
You can top up at any of the 7-Eleven and Circle K stores by cash, through FPS or through bank transfer.
33 Financial Services (Mastercard/American Express/UnionPay)
33 Financial Services is a lesser-known but established financial group offering prepaid credit cards.
While there are more ways to buy a prepaid card from the group, the easiest way is to buy one at its walk-in counter at their office in Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, or a Circle K convenience store. (Note: Only Mastercard and UnionPay cards are available at convenience stores.) While the prepaid credit card bought at the office is rechargeable, the ones bought from the convenience stores are not.
Mox, the virtual bank backed by Standard Chartered in Hong Kong launched just a year ago, has already had 100,000 customers.
You can apply for a Mox card with an app, and approval takes only a few minutes. After the application is approved, you will then have a Mox bank account and a debit card. Mox Card doesn’t have as much cashback as Mox Credit (its credit card), but it lets you use only the money you have deposited in your account with 0.5% cashback of real money saved directly in your accounts—not reward points you will forget about.
The app will help track your spending and outline your spending pattern.
You will need a Hong Kong ID to apply for a card.
Dubbed the first and the number-one virtual bank in Hong Kong, ZA Bank has a few gimmicks that attract a strong following. One of them includes allowing their customers to choose their own lucky bank card number. It also offers a lucky draw to a purchase of more than HK$10.00. Winners can win cashback as much as 200% of their spending. A few coffee shops including Arabica and Omotesando Koffee offer ‘buy one get one free’ promotions to ZA Card users.
You can add money by tying it to your other bank accounts or transferring the money using FPS.
ZA Card is a debit card. That means you can only spend as much money as you have in your bank account.