Having a prepaid credit card is more convenient for people who don’t plan on falling into debt. They are pre-loaded with cash that you have deposited yourself in banks or ATMS, and you can use them to buy stuff online. You do not have to worry about borrowing funds from banks because they have already been paid hence the word “prepaid”. They are widely accepted by retailers so they can be deemed okay to use for everyday transactions such as dining and eating out at restaurants. Although they are not really credit cards, they are more of a debit card in function.
If you are a tourist in Hong Kong, or anywhere abroad, having a limited amount of money in your prepaid card can be a safe countermeasure against unforeseen circumstances such as losing or getting your card stolen. Your bank account won’t damage your credit score and you may even be able to recover most if not, some of your funds. In general, if you have are not uncomfortable with having cash at hand, then having a prepaid card is right for you.
Compiled in this article are the most popular prepaid cards tourists and residents of Hong Kong.
|Card Name||Operator||Where to buy|
|Octopus Card||Octopus Cards Limited||MTR, Light Rail and Octopus Service Centres|
|MasterCard Cash Passport||MasterCard||Travelex store in Hong Kong|
|Tap & Go||MasterCard||Online|
Although not technically a prepaid card in spirit of a debit card, it is a reloadable card widely used by visitors and people living there. It is accepted by most convenience stores, fast food outlets, and food cafés.
If you are just arriving at the Hong Kong Airport, you can purchase a card already at the Airport Express station. It is available at all MTR stations both in “sold” and “on-load” forms. The sold variant does not include any value and you must top it up yourself as it is essentially a souvenir card. The on-load version includes the initial amount (HK$100) and a deposit of HK$50. Whenever you top it up, you can only add in denominations of HK$100 and HK$50.
MasterCard Cash Passport
Not directly called a prepaid card, but is suggested to have transactions that are very similar to debit card transactions. You can use these at ATMS, restaurants, and shops, anywhere that MasterCard is accepted.
Another benefit of this card is that it has “Globale Emergency Assistance”, in which the people from MasterCard can provide emergency funding when necessary, and replace cards for free as well as helping out people whose passports have been lost. You can buy them at any Travelex store in Hong Kong, and here is a link to look for the one nearest you.
Tap & Go
Another innovative form of payment, the Tap & Go is a service that is also popularly used by many people. It uses contactless technology using AndroidPay where you can use your smartphone as the “prepaid card”. Requirements for using the service is an iPhone with an iOS 7, or an Android device with Android 4.2 or above.
Just like the MasterCard Cash Passport, it can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. As it is a prepaid card in essence, it can also be used for online shopping as well! It features high security such as password protection and gives you a notification for every transaction it is used so you can monitor all the funds in your account.
You can “buy” the card via online here. You may also opt to activate it in any HKT, 1010, or csl. shops. You will need to show a valid ID if you are a resident (Hong Kong or Macau), passport, or exit-entry permit for travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macau.