Three major banks issue notes of Hong Kong –Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of China. The appearance of paper currency may differ depending on which bank issued the notes. The local currency of Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar, with denominations of $1000, $500, $100, $50, $20 and $10 in bills and $10, $5, $2, $1, $0.5, $0.2 and $0.1 in coins. Major banks are open 9am-4:30pm on weekdays and 9am-12:30pm on Saturdays. The current exchange rate for HK$ to US$ is HK$7.80 to US$1.
Foreign currency exchange centers, as well as ATMs, can be found anywhere in Hong Kong. It is best not to sell your foreign currency in the Hong Kong International Airport as the exchange rates there for HK$ to other currencies are lower. When getting cash from ATMs, be reminded of the international fees that are being charged to you per withdrawal.
All international credit cards are widely acceptable at hotels, retail shops and restaurants. Credit card signs are displayed in the doors of those establishments that accept them.
The Octopus Card is like your gold ticket to everywhere! It is accepted in all types of public transport, in many restaurants and even in convenience stores. More importantly, time and effort in counting and giving small change is eliminated because the Octopus Card is electronically charged.
You can load it whenever you need to by paying at the Customer Service booths or by using the Add Value Electronic Machine both found inside MTR stations. Octopus rates for child and elder: HK$70, for adult: HK$150. The On-Loan Octopus is refundable along with the HK$50 deposit (minus HK$7 handling fee for cards returned within 3 months).You can also opt to purchase the Sold Octopus – no deposit and remaining value refundable. For tourist, it is best to purchase the Airport Express Tourist Octopus which costs HK$220/ HK$300 and includes one/two single Airport Express journeys and 3 days of unlimited Travel on MTR & Light Rail. HK$50 deposit is still refundable.
It is not advisable to pay through credit card in smaller shops since the retailers give cheaper prices if you pay in cash.