Debit card usage is tripling, says Citibank HK


Debit card usage has increased almost threefold between 2019 and 2023 due to a surge in interest in travel following the Covid pandemic, according to a study by Citibank Hong Kong.

The survey of the bank’s high-net-worth customers also found that debit card use in Hong Kong has accelerated over the past five years, with overall usage increasing by 90 percent.

More than 70 percent of respondents prefer to use debit cards for spending abroad, and more than 90 percent use them to pay their children’s living expenses abroad, it found.

Vicky Kong Pik-tung, CEO of Citibank Hong Kong, says Citigold Private Client has also seen a more than 50 percent year-on-year increase in foreign currency transactions using debit cards in the first quarter of 2024, mainly due to spending in restaurants, traveling and grocery shopping.

Deposits recorded single-digit growth in the first quarter of this year, Kong said.

In the first quarter, typically a period of new customer growth, there was a 24 percent year-over-year increase in new customers for Citi Gold and CPC, the highest quarterly level since 2018, while new customer additions in international personal banking sector grew by 1.18 times year-on-year, with the majority being mainland Chinese customers, Kong added.

Citi unveiled the research as it launched its new Citigold Private Client World Elite Debit Mastercard. The card has a daily spending limit of up to HK$300,000, which is reportedly the highest in the city.