The experience brought from a trip to Hong Kong.

A few days ago, my friends and I planned to go to Hong Kong to open a HSBC card and stay there for two days.

Things to Prepare#

  1. ID card, Hong Kong and Macau Pass
  2. Activate roaming for your mobile phone. You don't need to use the internet, but you must activate roaming because without it, you won't have any signal. You need to go to the service center in advance to activate roaming. You can choose not to activate mobile data roaming for now, as it will cost you money once activated.
  3. British socket converter
  4. Alipay


We flew from Hangzhou to Shenzhen and then took an airport bus to Hong Kong. It cost 120 HKD.

You can buy some water at the airport because there won't be many places to buy water afterwards. Water in Hong Kong is very expensive.

The journey has two parts. First, we were taken to the Shenzhen Bay Port for immigration, and after leaving the port, we queued for the bus to Hong Kong.

There will be multiple security checks during immigration and entering Hong Kong. You also need to declare your health code in advance to save time on filling out forms.

Don't forget to take the small white slip when entering Hong Kong.

The bus took us to Diamond Hill MTR Station. After getting off, you can take the MTR or go to nearby shopping malls or convenience stores like 7-Eleven to buy a local SIM card, which is cheaper than using roaming for internet access.

It is said that you can use Octopus Card for the MTR. You can apply for it in Apple Pay, but you need to pay 50 HKD to open the card, and you have to top up at least 100 HKD each time, which is a bit inconvenient. If you want to cancel the card, you need to wait for six months to avoid handling fees.

I recommend using Alipay, which also has a local transportation code for Hong Kong. You can use it by scanning the code.


Most expenses in Hong Kong can be paid with Octopus Card, but I recommend using Alipay. After entering Alipay, you need to upgrade the exchange rate using the Diamond member benefits, as the exchange rate from RMB to HKD is very low after the upgrade (I only found out about this when I was leaving, and I regretted it). WeChat Pay has a relatively high exchange rate.


Accommodation in Hong Kong is very expensive. We stayed for one night and it cost 700 HKD. The space was very small, about 10 square meters, and we could barely survive in such a small space. If you are only staying in Hong Kong for one or two days, I recommend staying in Shenzhen and entering Hong Kong in the morning. You can apply for multiple entries.

Opening a Bank Account#

There are banks everywhere in Hong Kong, and there are several branches of the same bank in one commercial area.

ZA Bank#

When you enter Hong Kong, as long as you have internet access, you can open an account directly in the ZA Bank app.

The required documents are your ID card, Hong Kong and Macau Pass, a mainland China mobile phone number that can receive text messages, and a record of entering Hong Kong within the past three months issued by the Immigration Department. You also need to verify your mainland China bank debit card number that is linked to your mobile phone number.

After submitting the required documents according to the process, it only takes 5 minutes to complete the account opening.

The physical card needs to be mailed to a mainland China address, and it costs 25 HKD to make the card.

ZA Bank can be linked to Stripe.

Ant Bank#

Ant Bank (Hong Kong) is a relatively new bank, and the process is longer than ZA Bank's. You also need to submit documents, and it took me a day to get approved.

Virtual banks are similar. Ant Bank is relatively low-profile and does not have a physical card. It cannot be used with Apple Pay, but it doesn't matter whether you open an account or not. It cannot be used for collecting cards.

Ant Bank can be linked to Stripe.


We went to the HSBC InnoCentre branch. Since it was a working day, there weren't many people, so we didn't go too early. We took a number and completed the process in the morning.

The required documents are your ID card, Hong Kong and Macau Pass, and the entry slip.

Questions they may ask:

If necessary, we may ask you to provide the following information:

  • Nationality
  • Employment status, including job position, employer/company, and monthly income
  • Purpose of the account
  • Reason for opening an account in Hong Kong
  • Source of wealth and/or income, both initial and ongoing
  • Expected account activities, such as transaction amounts and frequency
  • Source of funds for account opening
  • Types of services you will use
  • Residence jurisdiction (i.e., the place where the applicant is liable to pay tax as a resident) and tax identification number or equivalent identifying number (tax identification number)
  • If you have a regular contributor who provides funds to your account: the contributor's full name in English, date of birth, nationality, and place of residence.

Under normal circumstances, it takes about half an hour to complete the process. The branch I went to happened to be out of cards, so I didn't get one. You need to apply for a Mastercard debit card in the app and have it mailed to the address you provided.

Data Usage#

The daily limit for domestic data roaming is 30 RMB, and you can also buy a daily or multi-day international data package, which is cheaper. However, the tricky part is that if you buy a data package in the afternoon and use it in Hong Kong, it will be activated and counted as a full day, even if it's less than a day, so it's a bit tricky.

I recommend buying a local SIM card. You can buy one at 7-Eleven convenience stores, which are everywhere. There are two types of cards: one is from China Mobile, and the other is ClubSIM. The China Mobile card needs to be activated at the service center, and it is relatively cheap. The other one can be activated in the app, which is very convenient. You can keep the number for a few HKD each year, so I recommend buying this card. However, when I went, it was difficult to buy this card. I went to several convenience stores, but they were all sold out.

If you take the high-speed rail to West Kowloon Station, you can buy a SIM card at the convenience store after entering the station. Of course, you still need to activate data roaming because you may need it when entering Hong Kong. Without data roaming, you won't have any signal there.


Even a casual meal costs over 100 RMB, except for fast food chains like McDonald's, which have similar prices to those in mainland China. You can get full for around 40 RMB.

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