In February this year, Financial Secretary Paul Chan revealed that Hong Kong residents will get consumption vouchers worth HK$5,000 or HK$2,500 as part of the 2023-2024 budget. This measure was announced as a way to facilitate the city’s “speedy recovery” during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hongkongers will get differing amounts at different points in time between April and October 2023, depending on their resident status – HK$5,000 for permanent residents and HK$2,500 for residents – and when they qualify to receive the vouchers.
Existing registrants, or those who successfully registered for the first and second phases of the 2022 edition of the scheme, do not have to sign up for the 2023 round. However, newly eligible residents must register for the initiative to avail the vouchers.
Read on to find out who qualifies for the scheme, when they can sign up for it, and when they will receive their vouchers this year.
Who is eligible to receive the consumption vouchers?
You can receive this year’s consumption vouchers if you have, or are, as of May 29, 2023:
- 18 years old
- A Hong Kong permanent resident
- A Hong Kong resident
- A dependent of a Hong Kong resident
- Not permanently left Hong Kong
Hongkongers, who as of May 29, 2023, are under the age of 65 and who have applied to withdraw their mandatory provident fund on the grounds of ‘permanent departure’ will not qualify for the scheme. Those who have been away from the city for at least 36 months are also ineligible for the initiative. Exceptions will be made if they are:
- Studying in a school or university outside Hong Kong
- Hospitalised outside Hong Kong for medical reasons
- Posted outside Hong Kong on work for the government or a Hong Kong-based company
How are the vouchers paid?
All eligible registrants can decide whether they would like to get their vouchers on their Octopus cards or one of six e-wallets – AliPayHK, BoC Pay, PayMe, Tap&Go and WeChat Pay HK – when they register for the scheme. Octopus users can tap their cards at transport subsidy collection points, convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, Circle K and Wellcome, Octopus service points, or their Octopus app to collect their vouchers.
Existing registrants can also change how they receive their payments, but only during specified periods. They can apply to change their preferred payment method between June 5 and 27, 2023.
Where can I use the vouchers?
The vouchers can be used at any local retail, food and beverage, and service outlet that accepts payments via Octopus or any of the six e-wallets mentioned earlier. They can be used for spending at retail shops, market stalls, department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, fast food shops, coffee shops, recreational facilities, beauty salons, and on public transport.
However, the vouchers cannot be used to pay utility bills, taxes, education expenses, or to make donations, among other restrictions.
What are the rules for existing registrants?
Existing registrants will get their consumption vouchers in two instalments this year according to the following schedule:
- April 16, 2023: Hong Kong permanent residents received HK$3,000 and Hong Kong residents got HK$1,500 on their e-wallets and Octopus cards. The vouchers disbursed to e-wallets will be valid until October 31, 2023.
- July 16, 2023: Hong Kong permanent residents will get HK$2,000 and Hong Kong residents will get HK$1,000. The vouchers paid to e-wallets will be valid until February 29, 2024. Those who chose to get their vouchers on their Octopus cards will get their second instalment on this day only if they have finished spending the first instalment. They can get the remaining HK$2,000 no later than November 16, 2023.
What are the rules for new registrants?
New 2023 registrants must sign up for the consumption vouchers from June 5-27 to receive them in two instalments during the second half of this year according to the following timetable:
- July 16, 2023: Hong Kong permanent residents will get paid HK$3,000 and Hong Kong residents will receive HK$1,500 on their e-wallets and Octopus cards. The vouchers disbursed to e-wallets will be valid until February 29, 2024.
- October 16, 2023: Hong Kong permanent residents will get HK$2,000 and Hong Kong residents will get HK$1,000. The vouchers paid into e-wallets will be valid until February 29, 2024. Those who chose to get their vouchers on their Octopus cards will get their second instalment on this day only if they have finished spending the first instalment. They are eligible to receive the remaining HK$2,000 no later than February 16, 2024, and must collect it by June 30, 2024.
This is the fourth year that the Hong Kong government announced vouchers to stimulate the economy. In 2020, residents received HK$10,000 via transfers to their bank accounts. In 2021 and 2022, the government gave residents HK$5,000 and HK$10,000 respectively using e-wallets and Octopus cards. While non-permanent Hong Kong residents only became eligible for the consumption voucher scheme in mid-2022, foreign domestic helpers still do not qualify for it.
Header image credits: Tap&Go