Long queues formed early on Thursday morning at branches of HSBC, the Bank of China and Standard Chartered as people rushed to get their hands on new or good-as-new banknotes for the Lunar New Year.
The banks launched their annual note exchanges so people could get crisp, clean bills to put in red "lai see" envelopes.
The Co-Head of Retail Distribution, Wealth, and Personal Banking at HSBC, Yvonne Chan, said more people are exchanging old notes for new this year.
"We don't have an exact figure, but we observed that the number of people queuing up has increased by 20 percent compared to last year. We think that the increase is due to the return to normalcy after the pandemic," she said.
"Since more people are interested in celebrating the new year and seeing family and friends this year, we believe that they will be interested in exchanging new banknotes."
At the HSBC Mong Kok branch, one woman who queued up early in the morning said the downbeat economy would make no difference to the amount she hands out this year.
"I will definitely be handing out red envelopes. I will hand out more money to family members. For staff at restaurants, I will probably give HK$20, and HK$50 for family members. I won't decrease the amount since it is only once a year and it's for joy," she said.
A man told RTHK he started queuing at 7.30 in the morning and was very pleased with how smooth the money exchange went. He said he was in and out of the bank in half an hour.
The exchanges will be available until February 9.