Officials have designated four electronic payments providers to dole out consumption-boosting vouchers: Octopus Hong Kong, AliPayHK, Tap & Go and WeChat Pay HK. The distribution methods vary between Octopus and the latter three e-payment methods. Registration for the scheme opens on July 4.

Photo: RTHK Screenshot.

Here’s everything you need to know about getting the vouchers what you and what you can spend them on.

1. Who can apply for the vouchers?

All Hong Kong permanent residents aged 18 and above as of June 18 are eligible to apply.

Applicants also have to satisfy a resident requirement, which means anyone who has been outside of Hong Kong continuously for 24 months before June 18 are ineligible. There are however special exceptions to this rule, including for people who are studying abroad, are hospitalised abroad, or are carrying out work duties for the government.

Newly-arrived migrants from mainland China and people who are sponsored by a Hong Kong permanent resident are also eligible to apply.

The government has hired a contractor to conduct random checks on people who have registered to ensure they are eligible for the handout.

2. How can I apply?

The registration period lasts six weeks from 6am on Sunday, July 4 until August 14. You can register for the spending scheme either electronically or on paper. You will receive an SMS once your registration has been confirmed.

Photo: GovHK Screenshot.

Electronic registration

You can register on the government’s online platform, and to do so you will need to provide your name, HKID number, a contact number, and your choice of which e-payment service provider you would like to receive your money via.

For people who have already registered for last year’s HK$10,000 cash handout scheme, you can register this year by answering two security questions — the last four digits of your phone number or the last five digits of the bank account through which you received the money — and providing a copy of your HKID.

Paper registration

You can access an application form via the government’s website, post offices, public estate offices, social welfare centres, or the Home Affairs Department’s Enquiry Centres.

Photo: RTHK Screenshot.

You can then drop off your paper application along with a copy of your HKID at around 560 different collection boxes across the city, including in post offices and the branches of participating banks, including the Bank of China, Bank of East Asia, Hang Seng Bank, and HSBC from July 5. You will only be able to hand in your application during office hours.

You cannot apply via post.

5. When will I receive the voucher?

The vouchers will be doled out in two instalments for the three e-payment services, while those who choose to receive the vouchers via Octopus will receive payments in three instalments.

The date you will receive the first instalment depends on when and how you register. If you apply electronically between July 4 to 17, you will receive HK$2,000 on August 1. You will then receive a second payment of HK$3,000 on October 1.

For AliPayHK, Tap & Go and WeChat Pay HK: If you apply electronically on or after July 18 or on paper, you will receive the first payment by September 1. You will then receive your second payment of HK$3,000 on November 1.

For Octopus: For those who choose to receive their money via Octopus, you will receive the sum in three instalments.

File photo: GovHK.

If you apply electronically between July 4 to 17, you will be able to receive HK$2,000 from August 1 at Octopus service points across the city. You will then be able to receive a further HK$2,000 from October 1.

If you apply electronically on or after July 18 or on paper, you will be able to receive HK$2,000 from August 1 at Octopus service points across the city. You will then be able to receive a further HK$2,000

You will then be able to receive the remaining HK$1,000 on the 16th of the month after you have completely spent the first HK$4000, given that you spend the money within four to seven months of when you receive your first intallment.

6. How can I receive my vouchers?

For AliPayHK, Tap & Go and WeChat Pay HK: The instalments will go directly into your e-wallet. The sum will be held in a separate account from your other funds. You will then be able to choose whether spend money from the voucher when you are using your chosen payment method at local merchants.

Photo: RTHK Screenshot.

For Octopus: You can receive the voucher via Octopus in the same way you receive the government’s travel subsidy scheme, by tapping your Octopus at different disbursement points across the city. These include service points at convenience stores 7/11 and OK. The voucher sum will not be differentiated from other funds loaded on to the card.

7. What can I spend the vouchers on?

Since the vouchers are designed to boost local spending you will be able to spend your money at local merchants. This means you will not be able to use the money to pay for public services, including your gas or electricity bill, public school fees, or parking fees or fines.

Photo: Markus Winkler via Pixabay.

You will also not be able to use the money to buy things from online merchants based overseas, or donate the money to charity.

8. Will the vouchers expire?

For AliPayHK, Tap & Go and WeChat Pay HK: The first HK$2,000 instalment has a five month validity period, while the second instalment has a three month one. This means the entire $HK5,000 will have the same expiry date: December 31 for those who apply before July 17, and January 31, 2022, for those who apply after.

You can either spend the money as you wish during the five month period or choose to wait for the entire sum to come through and spend it all in one go later.

For Octopus: You will be able to spend your first HK$4,000 within a seven month period. Once you have used up the HK$4,000, you will be able to receive the remaining HK$1,000 from the 16th of the fourth month or the following month, whichever is later.

You will also receive an SMS message within the first four months to spend your money before the last HK$1,000 instalment.

There is no spending limit on the third instalment, but you will only be entitled to it if you spend your first HK$4,000 within seven months.

The government has also set up a hotline at 18 000 for consumption voucher-related queries.

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit, Hong Kong Free Press is #PressingOn with impartial, award-winning, frontline coverage.

Rhoda Kwan

Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.