Registration for the government’s Consumption Voucher Scheme, devised to encourage local spending and boost the economy, is open from July 4 to August 14.
A total of $5000 will be given out in multiple instalments. The distribution method varies between payment methods. Applicants who choose to receive their payments through AlipayHK, Tap & Go, or WeChat Pay HK will receive the money in two instalments ($2000 and $3000), and applicants who choose to use Octopus will receive the money in three instalments ($2000, $2000, and a final $1000).
The consumption vouchers cannot be converted to cash and must be used for specified purposes. These are local retail, food & beverage, and service outlets like recreational facilities, salons, convenience stores, and public transit. The vouchers may not be used to pay government or public organization-related fees like parking or hospital bills, utility bills, tuition, or buy financial products like insurance.
Update on August 17, 2021: The government has announced an extension for people whose applications couldn’t be processed due to inaccurate information or a missing HKID photocopy (Source). You can only re-submit an application if you previously submitted an unsuccessful application before the original deadline of August 14. These resubmitted applications must be physically brought to the consumption voucher office at 17/F, Pioneer Centre, 750 Nathan Road, Mong Kok by August 31.
Who is eligible?
To receive the spending stimulus money, as of June 18, applicants must:
- Be at least 18 years old,
- Possess a valid Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card, Hong Kong Identity Card, or Exemption Card if they don’t have either of the aforementioned residency card OR be a dependant of a valid HKIC holder, holding either a HKIC or EC themselves,
- Not have continuously been outside of Hong Kong for the past 24 months (with exceptions, including attending a foreign university, on a working holiday approved by the Labour Department, hospitalised outside of Hong Kong, etc.).
Work permit holders and domestic helpers are not eligible for the scheme.
How to apply?
You can register online or by dropping off physical forms. Applications submitted by post, fax, or email are not eligible.
There are two methods for registering online:
- Apply on the website. If you received the previous $10,000 payout, you’ll just need to input the last few figures of the phone number and bank account you used during that application. If you can’t remember that information or it has changed, you can register your info anew which takes 10 minutes.
- Apply on the “iAM smart” app. Keep in mind that there have been long waiting times applying this way due to many people signing up for the app in a short period of time.
If you prefer to fill out a paper application, download them from the website and drop off the completed forms, along with a copy of your HKIC (also called HKID), at 560 collection points throughout Hong Kong. These include designated post offices and branches of Bank of China, Bank of East Asia, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank during office hours.
How will I receive the vouchers?
Vouchers will be sent to a “stored value facility” (SVF) account of your choice: AlipayHK, Tap & Go, WeChat Pay HK, or Octopus.
On the disbursement day, the first three SVF methods will receive the amount automatically. Octopus users, however, must tap their registered Octopus card within three months after the disbursement day at Subsidy Collection Points in MTR stations, Light Rail stations, bus interchanges, Octopus Service Points, any 7-Eleven, Circle K, or Wellcome franchine, or on the Octopus app by tapping your card on your phone.
Note: A SVF account can only be registered once (i.e. you can’t receive multiple people’s vouchers on the same SVF account) and cannot be changed after registration is complete.
When will I receive the vouchers?
If you register electronically, you will receive notification of whether or not your registration was successful after one week. If you register with physical documents, you will receive a notification after two weeks.
Applicants who complete online application on or before July 17 will receive the first payment on August 1, while those who complete it on or after July 18 will receive the first payment on September 1. Physical forms will take longer to process, so applicants who hand in physical forms at any time during the registration period will receive the first payment on September 1.
The second payment ($2000 for Octopus users and $3000 for every other SVF user) will be sent two months after you received the first payment. That is, October 1 or November 1 depending on your application method.
For Octopus users, receiving the final payment of $1000 is contingent on you spending the $4000 you’ve already received. If applicants who completed electronic registration spend the full amount by November 30, they will receive $1000 on 16 December. If these same applicants take a bit longer to spend the full amount, say by 31 December, they will receive the money on 16 January 2022. The payment will keep getting pushed one month until the end of February when the amount expires. So the last chance to spend the entire $4000 will be February 28, at which time the $1000 will be sent on 16 March 2022.
To check how much eligible spending you’ve done, the value of the e-coupons you’ve received, and the remaining value that’s pending receipt, Octopus users can check voucher.octopus.com.hk, the Octopus app, or call +852 2969 5500.
The validity period only applies to users of AlipayHK, Tap & Go, and WeChat Pay HK. The first payment will be valid for 5 months, after which the money will expire and no longer be usable. The second payment will be valid for 3 months. Vouchers received via Octopus will not expire.
If you have questions about the details of the scheme or how to complete registration, visit the official website or call the hotline at 18 5000.
Header image credits: Felix Wong via SCMP