Visa Study: 9 in 10 Hongkongers have used credit/debit card for payments as pandemic accelerates moves away from cash


• In Hong Kong, payment card (credit/debit card) usage increased significantly (93%) this year driven by security and convenience
• 2 in 5 respondents expect Hong Kong and Macau to transform to a cashless society in four years as consumers adopt increasingly digital lifestyles


Nearly 70% of Hong Kong consumers have attempted to go cashless in 2021 amid the growing preference for digital payment. The share of cash across expenses has decreased since pre-COVID times and will continue to decline in the near future as cashless payments take reign. Among all payment methods, payment card (credit/debit card) usage tops the chart due to security and convenience, according to the latest study by Visa, the leading global payments technology company.

The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study 3.01examined consumers’ preferences and emerging trends in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. The study showed that markets are at different levels of payment maturity when it comes to cashless usage. Hong Kong and Taiwan have a similar payment landscape, where payment cards (credit/debit card) lead as the most used payment method, with a high usage rate of 93% and 99% respectively. In Hong Kong, consumers are delighted with the features provided by credit cards on ease of traceability (47%), convenience in making payments (45%), personalized services and offers (43%), and security (41%). On the other hand, Macau shows a lower usage of physical card for payments, however, the usage of card-funded mobile payments has demonstrated significant growth over the past year.

“Hong Kong and Macau are making great strides in striving to a cashless society especially after the government’s efforts in smart city and digital payment, “said Maaike Steinebach, General Manager, Visa Hong Kong and Macau.  “We are delighted to see that not only consumers, but also more merchants and businesses are embracing cashless payment. We see this as an irreversible trend and will continue to work closely with our partners to deliver fast, secure and convenient payment experiences and make these experiences accessible and inclusive for all.”

Hong Kong and Macau transitioning towards a cashless society amid the growing preference for digital payments

  • 40% respondents from both Hong Kong and Macau expect their cities to be a cashless society within the next four years. In Hong Kong, most state ease of tracking financial records (47%), environmental friendliness (42%) and better hygiene (42%) are the top benefits of a cashless society.
  • At least one-third of consumers (Hong Kong: 38%, Macau: 34%) expect to increase their use of cashless in the next 12 months, citing reasons for appealing rewards and discounts (54%), hygiene factor (52%) and speed of transaction (48%) are main drivers.
  • Two-third of consumers (66% in 2021 vs. 56% in 2019) in Hong Kong show increasing preference to go cashless on smaller amount of transaction as low as HKD100. Macau shows the biggest jump at the value of MOP100 (67% in 2021 vs. 27% in 2019).

Digital shopping is poised for further growth during the pandemic and beyond powered by technology

  • An app on mobile is the most common platform to shop (50%) in Hong Kong, followed by web browser on computer (23%) and web browser on mobile (16%).
  • Hong Kong consumers perceive a secure payment system (40%), clear and transparent pricing (40%) and ease of checkout (38%) as top priorities for better online shopping experiences.
  • In terms of spend category, meal delivery (69%), fresh produce (70%), health & wellness (64%) saw the greatest increase in purchases vs. pre-COVID times.
  • Livestream shopping awareness is near-universal as over 90% of respondents are aware and have tried livestream shopping, however, interest to purchase is limited to about 2 out of 10 consumers. Lower price is the biggest driver (50%) to purchase from livestream shopping, followed by product specifications clearly conveyed by the host (33%).

Mobile wallets slated to grow further with better user experiences and reduced security concerns

  • Less than one-third of Hong Kong and Macau consumers considered mobile payment a safe option (Hong Kong: 28%, Macau: 22%) in 2020, but has improved significantly over the past year with at least 60% of them believing that their personal information is very or somewhat safe in 2021.
  • Over 60% of consumers across the two markets use card-funded mobile payments at physical stores, whereas preference for non-card funded mobile payments continues to decrease.
  • One in two Hongkongers (53%) expects to use more mobile wallets in the next 12 months, stating better offers and rewards (51%), faster transactions (47%) and pay without having to bring a wallet (40%) as main reasons.

Emerging payment trends/behaviours and tech advancement cater to evolving consumer needs

  • Up to 90% of Hongkongers have participated in loyalty and reward programs in Hong Kong. Multi-branded rewards clubs2 (48%) are most prevalent, followed by e-wallet (40%) and credit/debit card payment brand (37%).
  • Moreover, at least 70% of consumers across the three markets prefer e-redemption over paper and online methods such as mobile app to monitor their rewards.
  • Consumers find automated and seamless payment processes attractive including automatic alerts for payment method promotions (53%), in-app ordering and paying at a restaurant (53%), auto pay through biometrics (47%) and paperless receipts on physical transactions e.g., receipts directly sent to email account (41%).
  • More than one-third of respondents across the three markets have used installment plans in the last two years. Among all platforms, credit card (Hong Kong:72%, Macau: 80%) as the installment provider is the most popular among users, followed by e-wallets (Hong Kong: 21%, Macau: 31%). Buy Now, Pay Later platform (Hong Kong: 9%) is still in its nascent stage in Hong Kong.


To download “The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study 3.0” and learn more, visit here.


1 The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes survey is an annual study meant to understand payment behaviors of consumers when it comes to digital payments, digital banking and the future of commerce in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. This year, the survey was conducted amongst 2,000 consumers (Hong Kong: 700; Macau: 300; Taiwan: 1000) in July 2021.

2 Multi-branded rewards clubs refer to coalition loyalty programme a number of brands under one platform such as yuu, MoneyBack, The Club, etc.


About Visa Inc.
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 digital commerce on any device, 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 and @VisaNews.