Consumer protection

Personal finance

If you're dissatisfied with any of the products or services your bank provides, Hong Kong has implemented a complaints procedure to protect your rights as a consumer. Under the Banking Ordinance, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is responsible for ensuring that banks operate responsibly and that consumers are not subjected to illegal or unscrupulous practices.

Code of Banking Practice

Jointly issued by the Hong Kong Association of Banks and the Deposit Taking Companies Association- and endorsed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority- the Code of Banking Practice aims to promote good banking practices by setting out minimum standards for authorised institutions. All authorised institutions are expected to comply with guidelines covering the relationship between banks and customers, opening and operation of accounts and loans, card services, payment services and debt collection.


Security controls for ATM services

Keeping up to date with developments in banking technology security, the HKMA has taken steps to ensure that all licensed banks adopt chip-based technology to enhance the security of ATM services. Chip-based technology makes it increasingly difficult for the data on cards to be accessed by non-card holders for illegal transactions. Under the initiative, all licensed institutions are upgrading their ATM terminals and replacing their old magnetic-stripe credit and debit cards in phases by 2015. Read more about the HKMA's new security controls for ATM services.


How to make a complaint

Your first course of action in making a complaint is to speak directly to your bank. Some complaints arise from misunderstandings, which may be resolved after you speak with your bank. Each licensed bank in Hong Kong has a designated officer to handle complaints.


When to complain to the HKMA

You have the right to lodge a complaint with the HKMA about the products or services provided by a bank if:

  • The bank refuses to handle your complaint.
  • You consider that the bank does not handle your complaint fairly.
  • The bank fails to provide you with a final reply within 30 days.
  • You are not satisfied with the bank's response.
  • You believe that your interests have been prejudiced by the bank's practices or the conduct of any of its staff.

Once you make a complaint, the HKMA Enforcement Department will conduct an assessment based on the information provided by you and the bank. The assessment focuses on whether:

  • Your complaint has been properly handled by the bank in accordance with our guidelines on complaint handling.
  • Your complaint raises any concerns about the bank's business practices or the conduct of its staff.

Following the assessment, the HKMA will decide whether and what action should be taken. It's important to understand that the HKMA doesn't adjudicate disputes between banks and their customers or order banks to pay compensation to their customers. Read more about the HKMA's complaints procedure.

Lodging a dispute with the FDRC

If you're seeking monetary compensation from a bank, you could take your complaint to the court system for resolution. Or you can settle monetary disputes with a maximum claimable amount of HK$500,000 through the Financial Dispute Resolution Centre (FDRC), which was set up in 2011 to provide an independent and accessible alternative to court proceedings.

Under the Financial Dispute Resolution Scheme, the FDRC appoints mediators and arbitrators to work with its member institutions and consumers to resolve monetary disputes through mediation and arbitration.