Nowadays, more and more people expect to open an account and apply for credit cards in Hong Kong, especially customers from the Mainland China.

Hong Kong Credit Card Becoming Essential

About two years ago, Apple announced that Apple IDs in Mainland China will be managed by the Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (“云上贵州”), a state-owned enterprise, directly. I feel worry about the handover of my account, to a state-owned enterprise. I bought a US cell phone number, registered a new PayPal US account, and switched my Apple ID to US. However, after several months, the PayPal can’t be used smoothly as previously. I tried to change my Apple ID to Hong Kong, but failed for lack of a credit card issued in Hong Kong, or a cell phone number with a monthly plan by the 3 (“Three”). Then I decided to apply for a credit card in Hong Kong, so that I can switch my Apple ID to Hong Kong.

My Applications

I have account in several banks, so I may have a few choices.

Citibank

Considering I’ve built a good relationship with Citi, I take Citi as the first choice. I opened Citibank account in Hong Kong several years ago. Through doing investments continuously, I’ve built and been keeping a good relationship with the Citibank (Hong Kong), as well as my relationship manager. Application of new products is not that difficult.

I contacted Hugo, my relationship manager, and told him that I want to apply for a credit card. Hugo is experienced. He provided me the material list soon, and told me that their preferred time is the end of the year, not the beginning of the year.

  • Identity Documents (same as the bank account)
  • Address Proof (if the delivery address of the credit card is different from that of the bank account)
  • Cell Phone (carrying the cell phone — with the SIM card of the cell phone number registered in the bank’s system inserted — to the branch, not forgetting to turn on the international roaming)

I visited the branch on the December 31. The Citigold assistant helped to fill the application form according to my materials, then let me select which card I want to apply for. I selected Citi Rewards VISA, and Citi Clear. Although I want a MasterCard, there’re limited options on the form, not the full list. So I can’t select Rewards MasterCard.

The Citigold assistant sent me an SMS message including a 6-digit validation code, then I entered it using the PIN keyboard. The term deposit is the securing asset supporting my application.

On the same day, Hugo offered me a discounted subscription rate of mutual funds. The total transaction was about 100k HKD, and the subscription fee rate was less than 1.5%. The discounted rate is commonly provided to big amount transactions or Citigold clients only.

Due to additional requirements of the card I selected, there’re other materials I need to provide, as the Citigold assistant told me.

  • Bank Statements Including Payroll Incoming Transactions During the Past Six Months
  • Employment Certificate (salary information is preferred to be included)
  • Other Materials Showing or Indicating the Annual Income

After going back to work the first day, I applied for employment certificate to my HRBP, and printed and stamped bank statements in a branch of my payroll bank. Then I scan them, and send to my Citi RM, Hugo. He transferred to the assistant soon, then the application was handled quickly.

On a day of the next Feburary, I received my cards in my mailbox. They were delivered by postal air mail, not DHL. The credit limit is same as the amount of the term deposit.

After one month, I saw cash back 100 HKD in my bank account which is a promotion by the branch, for activation and usage of my cards.

ICBC Asia

ICBC Asia is a bank not as popular as HSBC, BoC, or SC in Hong Kong. It serves clients from the Mainland China better.

Before applying for Citi crecit cards, I tried to submit application in the Internet Banking. After two weeks, I received an SMS message. My applicaiton was rejected. I need to visit the branch in Hong Kong, bringing listed materials, to sign the authorization letter, submit materials, in order to apply for the credit card.

  • Identity Documents
  • Address Proof
  • Time Deposit (securing for the application)
  • Authorization Letter (authorizing the bank to retrieve the personal credit information outside Hong Kong)

Considering Citi credit cards are enough for me, I didn’t visit any ICBC Asia branch on the same day when I applied for credit cards in Citi. So I spent my time with friends in Hong Kong.

Wing Lung Bank

The Wing Lung Bank requires the applicant’s average daily balance during the past three months more than 500k HKD. Then I failed for lack of money in my Wing Lung account.

Experience of Using HK Credit Cards

I’ve used the Citi HK credit cards for a not-short period. Now I use them for my Apple ID, and other online shopping. Some US online merchants cancell orders paid by credit cards issued in Mainland China. Now I have another choice.

With a Hong Kong cell phone number, and credit cards issued in Hong Kong, I can register and keep a PayPal HK account. I registered Alipay HK, and UnionPay Cloud QuickPass HK. I feel good of enjoying the promotions.

What I really don’t like is only the foreign currency conversion fee, 1.95% of every non-HKD transaction.

If you have any questions, just feel free to leave a message here.

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