Hong Kong people carry less cash than two years ago preferring to pay digitally


• Digital, non-cash payments is preferred by seven in ten (71 percent) of Hong Kong residents as paying electronically becomes easier and more widely available
• More than half of respondents (53 percent) believe Hong Kong will become cashless within seven years


Hong Kongers carry less cash in their wallets than two years ago, following an increase in the use of digital payments, according to Visa study.

Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study1 found that, despite cash still being the most used method, more than half of Hong Kong residents (53 percent) have tried to go cashless. The study tracks consumers’ perceptions and attitudes in payments and financial services in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, as well as eight other Southeast Asian markets. 

Though cash is most commonly used, half of Hong Kongers plan to move away from cash and go cashless. Non-cash payment methods are preferred by 71 percent of Hong Kong residents compared to 59 percent in Taiwan and 26 percent in Macau.2

Maaike Steinebach, Visa General Manager, Hong Kong and Macau said: “Cash dominates and is still Visa’s number one competitor. But sentiment is shifting to the benefits of the city. We believe that by adopting more digital payments, Hong Kong consumers, businesses and governments will benefit from greater economic growth, more jobs, higher wages, increased worker productivity, and even lower crime.”3  

With more places accepting digital payments in Hong Kong, 40 percent of respondents said they carry less cash in their wallets than two years ago. Reasons cited for the decrease are more usage of contactless payments, and general credit and debit cards at 64 percent and 62 percent, respectively.4

In Hong Kong, contactless payments account for more than half of the total face-to-face Visa transactions,5 with one in ten of total transactions carried out via contactless mobile devices.6

According to the study, seven in ten people (74 percent) shop online at least once a month.7 Visa has seen eCommerce grow by 40 percent in the first half of its financial year.8

Ms. Steinebach said: “More than half (53 percent) expect Hong Kong to become a cashless society within seven years.9 Without a firm foundation in digital payments, it will be hard for Hong Kong to fully capture its Smart City potentials. This includes the use of digital technologies — from artificial intelligence to 5G — which will transform how we live, travel, and consume.”

Ms. Steinebach added: “The full potential of digital payments has yet to be realized. There is ample headroom for growth in eCommerce, business-to-business or B2B payments, and transportation. To meet growing demands for cashless payments, Visa will continue to innovate and deliver human-centric payment solutions in partnerships with governments, financial institutions, merchants, and fintechs.”


1 Visa commissioned the Consumer Payment Attitudes Study 2019 to understand the behaviors of digital consumers and to identify areas where we can drive greater adoption of electronic payments. The survey was conducted amongst 1,250 consumers in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau in May 2019. The Southeast Asia edition was conducted in Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam covering 4,500 respondents. 

2 ibid

3“Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments” is a global study, commissioned by Visa, that quantifies the potential net benefits experienced by cities which move to an “achievable level of cashlessness”— defined as the entire population of a city moving to digital payment usage equal to the top 10 percent of users in that city today. More: http://www.visa.com/cashlesscities

4 ibid.

5 VisaNet: Quarter March 2019

6 ibid.

7 ibid.

8 VisaNet: of Oct 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019

9 Consumer Payment Attitudes Study 2019 (Hong Kong)


About Visa
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network—enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit www.visa.com.hk and @VisaNews.