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Currency Exchange

Since the mid-1980s, the value of the Hong Kong dollar has been pegged at HK$7.8 to the US dollar, and consequent rates of exchange to other currencies. However, the market rate exchange to the US dollar fluctuates marginally. Banks and money changers charge commission. Similarly, commissions are payable in hotels and major retail outlets which provide exchange facilities for their customers. As elsewhere, the rates of exchange for cash and travellers cheques are marginally different and coins are not exchangeable.

Licensed money changers, such as Thomas Cook and Chequepoint are abundant in tourist areas. Money changers are open every day, including Sundays and holidays and late into the evening. There is no commission, but the exchange rate offered is equivalent to a 5% commission when compared with bank rates. If you are changing several hundred US dollars, you can bargain for a better rate.

The display of net rates of exchange by money changers is a legal obligation. Visitors are advised to check them - and also the amount of any additional commission payable for the exchange of travellers' cheques - before handing over the money for exchange. Before the actual exchange is made, the money changer is required by law to give you a form to sign clearly showing the amount, rate and any service charges.

Major banks are open from 9am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 12:30pm on Saturday. They close on Sundays and public holidays. Some banks and branches are open slightly longer hours. Some banking services are not available an hour before closing.

Automated teller machines (ATMs) can be found almost everywhere. Some HSBC "Electronic Money" machines provide 24-hour cash withdrawal (HK$) and facilities for Visa and MasterCard holders. American Express cardholders have access to Jetco ATMs and can withdraw local currency and travellers' cheques at the Express Cash ATMs in town.

There are no restrictions on currencies being brought in or taken out of Hong Kong.



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