The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government this week issued a new regulatory notice on behalf of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority: Effective March 1, overseas cash withdrawal capability for all ATM access cards issued by "authorized institutions" in Hong Kong will be pre-set as "deactivated" in order to prevent unauthorized overseas ATM transactions.

Cardholders who want to be able to make cash withdrawals from overseas ATMs (including machines in Mainland China, Macau and Taiwan) must enable their cards for that capability before travelling.

Activation can be carried out at their bank's ATMs, website, help line or branch. The card user must set a time window for activation and a cash withdrawal limit.

"We believe that the new control measures on the use of ATM services outside Hong Kong can further strengthen the overall security of ATM services in Hong Kong," said the deputy chief executive of the HKMA, Arthur Yuen.

"ATM cardholders are advised to pay attention to the operations of the new measures to ensure they can continue to withdraw cash from ATMs outside Hong Kong from March 1, 2013."

Banks have started communicating details of the new policy to customers and cardholders are being advised to contact their card-issuing bank for information. The HKMA and the Hong Kong Association of Banks are also sharing information with the public through TV, radio and websites.

Read more about security.

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