A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Hong Kong, with clearsighted commentary backed by relevant data.
Hong Kong is a developed cards market marked by an elevated degree of card ownership, a deep and wide acceptance infrastructure and a knowledgeable populace familiar with the advantages associated with payment cards. E-wallets, however, have overtaken credit cards as the leading online payment method, with a common QR code standard introduced in 2017 to sustain further growth and the major Chinese wallets becoming popular. Eight digital-banking licences have recently been issued and 18 companies have obtained licences to issue Stored Value Facilities since 2016.
Demographics and the economy
Hong Kong cards market
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Regulatory and other cards market information
Appendices: Card Payments Data
Appendix I: Demographics and the economy
Appendix II: Payments environment
Appendix III: Cards market
Appendix IV: Mobile payments
Appendix V: Profit pool
Appendix VI: The card networks
Appendix VII: Key retail banks and card issuers
Appendix VIII: Acquiring and processing
Appendix IX: Online acquiring
Demographics and Economy:
Hong Kong is a leading telecommunications hub for the Asia- Pacific region. Mobile phone usage has undergone rapid growth since the 1990s, with mobile telephony estimated to reach a density of 265 per 100 inhabitants as of 2019, of which 85 are smartphones.
The majority of payment cards are effectively dual-function credit and debit cards, and cardholders can choose which function to use at the point of sale. In addition, there are a number of banks that offer co-branded Octopus cards.
Usage of credit and debit cards at the point of sale has accelerated in recent years. From 2013 to 2019, the cumulative number of purchase transactions increased by 68%, while the average transaction value decreased by 12% over the same period.
Hong Kong is one of the fastest-growing NFC mobile payment markets in the world, a growth fuelled by a growing awareness of contactless, high smartphone penetration and increased availability of suitably equipped devices.
It is common for the average Hong Kong resident to take out cards with several issuers in order to take advantage of discounts at a variety of merchants. As a result of these introductory bonuses and offers, there is a high acquisition cost for issuers gaining new credit card customers.
Visa maintains a dominant position in Hong Kong's credit cards market, followed by Mastercard. In recent years, UnionPay has been growing due to mainland China's increasing role in Hong Kong. Owned by a consortium of 21 major Hong Kong banks, EPS has enjoyed an effective monopoly of debit-card provision.
Key Retail Banks and Issuers:
Hong Kong's banking sector is HSBC extremely competitive, with a comparatively large number of retail banks for a market of around 7.5 million people. Between the three authorised categories – licenced, restricted licence and deposit-taking – there are nearly 200 banks.
Acquiring and Processing:
The widespread acceptance of all major credit card schemes – Visa, Mastercard, JCB International, American Express, Diners Club and UnionPay – ensures high volumes being spent at the POS.
Credit cards are the second-most popular online payment method in Hong Kong, accounting for an estimated 34% of total e-commerce billed volume in 2019. The most popular method is the e-wallet (eg, Alipay HK, WeChat Pay and PayPal), which holds a 49% share.
Regulatory and Markets Information:
Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) approval is required to carry out banking business activities in Hong Kong. Those authorised by the HKMA are referred to as Authorised Institutions (AIs).
33 Financial Services
AEON Credit Services
AXA Hong Kong
Bank of China (Hong Kong)
Bank of Communications
Bank of East Asia
Bank of Taiwan
BOC Credit Card
BOC Hong Kong
Chekiang First Bank
China CITIC Bank
China Construction Bank
Dah Sing Bank
Eastern Miles Point
Faster Payments System
Federation of Hong Kong Industries
Financial Information Service Company
Geoswift Cards Services
Global Payments Asia Pacific
Hang Seng Bank
Hong Kong Association of Banks
Hong Kong Jockey Club
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
Hong Kong Telecommunications
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Joint Electronic Services Teller
K & R International
OCBC Wing Hang Bank
Octopus O! ePay
Optal Asia TNG (Asia)
Shanghai Commercial Bank
Sky Pearl Club
Stored Value Facilities
Tap & Go
Transforex (Hong Kong) Investment Consulting
Wing Lung Bank
ZhongAn Financial Services
Verisk reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit around the globe. Analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with Asia Pacific industry executives and experts.
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