Financial planning is very important. Always prepare for extra.
Banking and Finance
The basic unit of currency is the Hong Kong dollar which is pegged at about HKD7.80 to USD1.00, and consequent rates of exchange to other currencies. The Hong Kong dollar is divided into 100 cents and notes in denominations of $10, $20, $50, $100, $500 and $1,000 are issued by HSBC, the Bank of China and the Standard Chartered Bank. The government also issues $10 notes. The colors of $10, $20 and $50 notes have changed in recent years, but all remain legal tender. Please be aware that there are different designs for notes of the same denomination.
Living expenses will vary depending on your lifestyle choices. We recommend that you budget around HK$25,000-40,000 (~USD3,300-5,200) for one term. Bring a combination of cash, travelers' checks and credit cards may be a good idea.
Most international banks have branches in Hong Kong. On campus, there are two banks: Hang Seng Bank and Bank of China.
ATMs are widespread in Hong Kong. Most terminals are linked to international money systems, including Cirrus, Maestro, Plus, Visa Electron, UnionPay, as well as the Visa and MasterCard credit systems. However, you should note that there are ATM systems in Hong Kong; one is linked to the Bank of China and its partners, and the other used by HSBC and other international banks. You may be charged a fee if you use an ATM machine operating on a system not linked to your bank.
Most major banks offer credit cards to students. Please be aware of payment due dates, annual fees and interest charges to protect your credit rating. Always check the credit card slip and receipt before signing and keep all copies of receipts as proof of purchase.
Banks usually have the best foreign exchange rates, although some are better than others. Often, the rate depends on the amount you are changing, and whether you hold an account with the bank. Commissions and service charges may apply in some cases, so you may wish to shop around before exchanging money.