Tim’s Travel Tips: Cash, ATM’s, and Digital Payments in China and Hong Kong

Dealing with cash, ATM’s and digital payments in China and Hong Kong is generally not difficult.  Mary Ann and I went to China with cash ready to go as it was easier to use it for business and working with our staff in China.  As far as ATM’s, if we needed cash it would be easier to use an ATM as opposed to going to a bank according to Attache.  If you wanted to use digital payments, you needed to be Chinese to take advantage of that.  Mary Ann and I have plans for next time in regards to digital payments, but we are taken care by our Chinese staff so well we probably won’t need to worry about it.

Where things got interesting is Hong Kong.  As our travel plans began to change we realized we were moving closer and closer to Hong Kong.  It soon made sense to leave back home from Hong Kong instead of Shanghai.  Mary Ann and I didn’t have time to get Hong Kong dollars before we left, but knowing Hong Kong was more “Western”, it wasn’t a concern.  A video from Attache was helpful here too.

First thing we needed was taxi from our bullet train, but a quick discussion from the taxi help told us it was 1:1 exchange from the Chinese Yuan Renminbi to Hong Kong dollar.  This must be a common issue.

We then had money left over from China and needed to exchange it.  Cam, our Australian business partner, mentioned there was place near our hotel to get the best rates.  It happened to be the infamous Chungking Mansions.

Mary Ann and I heard that it was very credit card friendly in Hong Kong, but it seemed easier to deal with cash.  So, we needed an ATM.  Easy enough!  Citibank was around the corner.

So what does that cost you?  We needed $50.00.

  • Mastercard currency conversion fee $0.10
  • International Transfer Fee of $1.50
  • International ATM Withdrawal Fee of $5.00
  • Actual conversion from US dollars to Hong Kong dollars was $1.03 more.
  • OVERALL CONVERSION AND FEES – $7.63 more or $57.63 total.

Regardless of the fees, getting cash was easy in Hong Kong.

Citi Bank In Hong Kong
The Citi Bank we visited in Hong Kong

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