Octopus Cards Shifts Towards Digital Wallets on Smartphones

Octopus Cards Shifts Towards Digital Wallets on Smartphones

by February 8, 2024

Octopus Cards Limited is facilitating a shift towards digital payments in Hong Kong, encouraging the transition from the traditional physical Octopus cards to a smartphone-based wallet.

This strategic move is in response to the changing dynamics of the payment system market and aims to keep Octopus competitive.

The Octopus card, integral to Hong Kong since 1997, is widely used for various services, including public transport, utility payments, and access control mechanisms.

With the adoption of digital wallets, the company aims to offer enhanced convenience by enabling users to manage payments and card top-ups through their mobile devices.

Sammy Kam, Chief Operations Officer, expressed the company’s focus on migrating users to a mobile-centric system, aligning with the broader trend of digital adoption in payment technologies. This initiative supports Chief Executive Tim Ying’s ambition for widespread e-system use across all mobile devices in Hong Kong.

The introduction of the virtual cards on smartphones started in 2017, initially with Samsung devices, extending to Apple and Huawei by 2020. This digital solution allows for seamless contactless payments and real-time balance updates, maintaining the convenience Octopus users have come to rely on.

Sammy KamOctopus

Sammy Kam

“Unlike transport cards issued by other cities such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the Octopus card cannot be virtualised and integrated into most mobile phones other than Apple, Samsung and Huawei devices… which can be a restriction for users who prefer using other smartphones,”

Sammy added.

“The NFC tap-and-go contactless function is still Octopus’ core strength. Hong Kong people have shown that they prefer this over QR payments, especially for public transport, so we’ve done our part to give them what they want. We want to migrate our users from the traditional card-based system to the upgraded mobile-based one… so that we can make it fast, easy and convenient for our users to do everything from topping up their cards to deducting payment online through their mobile phones,”

he said.

While moving towards digitalisation, Octopus continues to utilise Sony FeliCa NFC technology, ensuring transaction speed and reliability remain unchanged.

Featured image credit: Edited from Freepik