Octopus card – Wikipedia

Stored worth sensible card in Hong Kong

Octopus card

Adult model of the Octopus card since 2017

Location Hong Kong
Launched 1 September 1997; 23 years in the past (1997-09-01)
Operator Octopus Cards Limited
Currency HKD (HK$3,000 most load)
Stored-value Pay as you go
Auto recharge Automatic Add Value Service (by means of credit playing cards)
  • MTR, MTR Light Rail
  • Hong Kong Tramways, Peak Tram
  • MTR Bus
  • Citybus, Kowloon Motor Bus, Long Win Bus, New Lantao Bus, New World First Bus
  • Star Ferry, New World First Ferry, Coral Sea Ferry, Hongkong and Yaumati Ferry, Fortune Ferry
  • just a few taxis
  • Convenience shops, Supermarkets, Fast-food eating places
  • Parking, Vending machines

The Octopus card is a reusable contactless saved worth sensible card for making digital funds in on-line or offline programs in Hong Kong. Launched in September 1997 to gather fares for the territory’s mass transit system, the Octopus card system is the second contactless sensible card system on the earth, after the Korean Upass, and has since grown right into a broadly used fee system for all public transport in Hong Kong, resulting in the event of Navigo card in Paris, Oyster Card in London, Opal Card in New South Wales, NETS FlashPay and EZ-Link in Singapore and plenty of different comparable programs around the globe.

The Octopus card has additionally grown for use for fee in lots of retail outlets in Hong Kong, together with most comfort shops, supermarkets, and quick meals eating places. Other widespread Octopus fee functions embrace parking meters, automotive parks, petrol stations, merchandising machines, price fee at public libraries and swimming swimming pools, and extra. The playing cards are additionally generally used for non-payment functions, resembling faculty attendance and entry management for workplace buildings and housing estates.

The Octopus card received the Chairman’s Award of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance’s 2006 Global IT Excellence Award for, amongst different issues, being the world’s main complicated automated fare assortment and contactless smartcard fee system. According to Octopus Cards Limited, operator of the Octopus card system, there are greater than 33 million playing cards in circulation, practically 5 instances the inhabitants of Hong Kong. The playing cards are utilized by 99 per cent of the inhabitants of Hong Kong aged 16 to 65.[1] The system handles greater than 14 million transactions, price over HK$180 million, every day.[2]


Prior to the Octopus card, Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway (MTR) adopted a system to recirculate magnetic plastic playing cards as fare tickets when it began operations in 1979. Another of the territory’s railway networks, the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR), adopted the identical magnetic playing cards in 1984, and the saved worth model was renamed Common Stored Value Ticket. In 1989, the Common Stored Value Ticket system was prolonged to Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) buses offering a feeder service to MTR and KCR stations and to Citybus, and was additionally prolonged to a restricted variety of non-transport functions, resembling funds at photobooths and for quick meals vouchers.[3]

The MTR Corporation ultimately determined to undertake extra superior applied sciences, and in 1993 introduced that it could transfer in direction of utilizing contactless smartcards. To acquire wider acceptance, it partnered with 4 different main transit corporations in Hong Kong to create a joint-venture enterprise to function the Octopus system in 1994, then generally known as Creative Star Limited.[4]

After three years of trials, the Octopus card was launched on 1 September 1997.[5] Three million playing cards had been issued throughout the first three months of the system’s launch. The fast success of the system was pushed by the truth that MTR and KCR required all holders of Common Stored Value Tickets to switch their tickets with Octopus playing cards inside three months or have their tickets made out of date.[6] Another motive was the coin scarcity in Hong Kong in 1997. With the switch of Hong Kong away from British rule, there was a perception that the older Queen’s Head cash in Hong Kong would rise in worth, so many individuals hoarded these older cash and waited for his or her worth to extend.[7][8] The Octopus system was shortly adopted by different Creative Star three way partnership companions, and KMB reported that by 2000, most bus journeys had been accomplished utilizing an Octopus card, with few cash used.[9] Boarding a bus in Hong Kong with out utilizing the Octopus card requires giving precise change, making it cumbersome in comparison with utilizing the Octopus card. By November 1998, 4.6 million playing cards had been issued, and this rose to 9 million by January 2002.[6]

In 2000, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority granted a deposit-taking firm license to the operator, eradicating earlier restrictions that prohibited Octopus from producing greater than 15 % of its turnover from non-transit-related capabilities. This allowed the Octopus card to be broadly adopted for non-transit-related gross sales transactions.[10] On 29 June 2003, the Octopus card discovered one other software when the Hong Kong Government began to switch all its 18,000 parking meters with a brand new Octopus card-operated system.[11] The alternative was accomplished on 21 November 2004.[12]

First Generation Card alternative[edit]

In order to reinforce the extent of safety and expertise, Octopus firm launched “replacement of First Generation On-Loan Octopus” programme in 2015.

First Generation playing cards haven’t any bracket of their card quantity. On profitable transactions with first technology playing cards, the cardboard reader will emit a “Do” sound 3 times to remind cardholders to switch their playing cards.

In 2015, on the preliminary stage, card holders of first technology cardholders might voluntarily change their playing cards at an Octopus Service Point with out cost.[13] In 2017, the ultimate name on card replacements was launched by Octopus firm. First technology playing cards might be unusable by phases ranging from January 2018. Cardholders can change these playing cards with out cost at MTR or KMB Customer Service Centres, and Octopus Service Points.[14]


The Cantonese identify for the Octopus card, Baat Daaht Tùng (Chinese: 八達通), interprets actually as “eight-arrived pass”, the place Baat Daaht might translate as “reaching everywhere”. Less actually although the that means is taken because the “go-everywhere pass”. It was chosen by the top of the MTR Corporation, the mum or dad firm of Octopus Cards Limited, in a naming competitors held in 1996.[15] The quantity eight refers back to the cardinal and ordinal instructions, and the four-character idiom sei tùng baat daaht (Chinese: 四通八達), a standard expression loosely translated as “reachable in all directions”.[16] It can be thought-about a fortunate quantity in Chinese tradition, and the phrase baat daaht can probably be related to the similar-sounding faat daaht, which suggests “getting wealthy” (Chinese: 發達) in Cantonese.

The English identify Octopus card was additionally chosen from the naming competitors. Coincidentally, the English identify coincides with the quantity eight within the Chinese identify, since an octopus has eight tentacles.[17] The emblem used on the cardboard includes a Möbius strip within the form of an infinity image.

Card utilization[edit]

Octopus reader at an MTR ticket gate

The Octopus card was initially launched for fare fee on the MTR;[18] nevertheless, the usage of the cardboard shortly expanded to different retail companies in Hong Kong.[19] The card is now generally utilized in most public transport, quick meals eating places, supermarkets, merchandising machines, comfort shops, photograph cubicles, parking meters, automotive parks and plenty of different retails enterprise the place small funds are ceaselessly made by prospects.[20][21] With over 33 million Octopus playing cards in circulation as of 2018, the Octopus card is utilized by 99 per cent of Hongkongers.[1]

Notable companies that began accepting Octopus playing cards at a really early stage embrace PARKnSHOP, Wellcome, Watsons, 7-Eleven, Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Circle Ok.[22] As of 21 November 2004, all parking meters in Hong Kong had been transformed. They not settle for cash and Octopus turned the one type of fee accepted.[12]

Octopus playing cards additionally double as entry management playing cards in buildings and for college administrative capabilities.[23][24] At sure workplace buildings, residential buildings, and colleges, use of an Octopus card is required for entry.[25]


Octopus card reader at a McDonald's restaurant in Hong Kong

Making or recording a fee utilizing the cardboard for public transport or purchases at Octopus-enabled retailers could be executed by holding the cardboard towards or waving it over an Octopus card reader from up to some centimetres away. The reader will acknowledge fee by emitting a beep, and displaying the quantity deducted and the remaining stability of the cardboard.[26] Standard transaction time for readers used for public transport is 0.3 seconds, whereas that of readers used for retailers is 1 second.[27] When utilizing the MTR heavy rail system, the entry level of commuters is famous when a passenger enters, and the suitable quantity based mostly on distance traveled might be deducted when the customers validate their playing cards once more on the exit level.

The MTR often prices much less for journeys made utilizing an Octopus card as a substitute of typical single-journey tickets. For instance, the grownup fare of a single journey from Chai Wan to Tung Chung is HK$25.7 with an Octopus card, and HK$28.5 with a single journey ticket.[28] Other public transport operators additionally provide intermittent reductions for utilizing Octopus playing cards on increased fares and round-trip transits on choose routes.[29]

On 6 November 2005, Octopus Cards Limited launched Octopus Rewards, a program that enables cardholders to earn rewards at retailers which can be companions in this system. Participating retailers present customers with tailored provides and privileges.[30] The rewards that this system provides are within the type of factors, or reward {dollars}, saved on the cardboard. Once a card is registered for this system, the cardholder might accumulate reward factors by making purchases at collaborating retailers, and funds could also be made within the type of money, credit playing cards, or Octopus playing cards themselves.[31] The charge at which reward factors are earned per dollar-amount buy differs by the service provider at which that the purchases are made. At Wellcome, for instance, one level is earned for each buy of HK$200;[32] and at Watsons, factors are earned at a charge of 0.5 % per greenback quantity of a purchase order.[33] Once these reward {dollars} are amassed, they might be redeemed as fee for purchases at associate retailers for a minimum of HK$1 per reward greenback. To redeem the amassed reward {dollars}, cardholders should use your entire worth quantity in complete, and will not elect to make use of it partially. If the acquisition worth is decrease than the quantity of reward {dollars} accessible, the quantity distinction stays saved on the cardboard.[34] Founding companions for the Octopus Rewards program embrace HSBC, UA Cinemas and Wellcome.[35]


Most taxis in Hong Kong don’t settle for the Octopus card. On 27 June 2006, after 10 years of negotiations between Octopus Cards Limited and the taxi business, the primary trial of taxis geared up with Octopus card readers was launched within the New Territories with taxis operated by the Yellow Taxi Group.[36] But it was reported on 30 October that of the 20 taxis that participated within the trial, eight had dropped out. Part of the explanation was technical – drivers should return to the workplace day by day for accounting. The Octopus card firm stated it could be upgrading the system to permit automated account updating sooner or later.[37] Wong Yu-ting, managing director of the Yellow Taxi Group, additionally famous that they’d been “trying to convince restaurants and retailers” to supply reductions to Octopus taxi passengers, however the Transport Department had been a serious impediment. The Transport Department is towards this strategy for authorized causes, as taxi fare low cost is illegitimate in Hong Kong.[37] Also, aside from taxi company abroad, most drivers are self-employed. They and their taxi proprietor choose to account their revenue and lease in every day foundation, whereas Octopus requires to switch cash by means of bank after a working day. Plus, set up and repair price are additionally their issues.[38]

In 2018, Octopus Cards Limited introduced its plans to re-enter the taxi fee market with their new cellular app for taxi drivers. The cellular app is ready to obtain funds by tapping the passenger’s Octopus card to the machine’s NFC reader, or by permitting passengers to scan the O! ePay driver QR-code.[39]

Outside Hong Kong[edit]

Usage of the Octopus card was prolonged to Macau and the Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen in 2006. In collaboration with China UnionPay, Octopus Cards Limited launched Octopus card utilization to 2 Fairwood eating places in Shenzhen in August 2006.[40] In 2008, 5 Café de Coral places in Shenzhen additionally began accepting Octopus.[41] Value can’t be reloaded to Octopus playing cards in Shenzhen, however the Automatic Add Value Service is accessible to routinely deduct cash worth from a buyer’s credit card to reload an Octopus card. The two Fairwood eating places in Shenzhen that had been enabled for Octopus card funds are situated at Luohu Commercial City and Shenzhen railway station.[40] Shenzhen turned the primary metropolis outdoors Hong Kong wherein Octopus playing cards could also be accepted as fee. In Macau, the Octopus card was launched in December 2006 when two Kentucky Fried Chicken eating places within the territory adopted its utilization as fee. Similar to its utilization in Shenzhen, an Octopus card will not be reloaded in Macau, and the foreign money change charge between the Macanese pataca and the Hong Kong greenback when utilizing an Octopus card is MOP1:HKD1.[42] The two Kentucky Fried Chicken eating places in Macau that adopted the Octopus card for fee are situated on the Rua Do Campo and the Sands Casino.[42]

Shenzhen Tong playing cards are actually broadly utilized in Shenzhen as a substitute, and a mixed Shenzhen Tong – Hong Kong Octopus card is accessible, referred to as the Hu Tong Xing, with RMB & HKD in several purses.[43] The Macau Pass is now broadly utilized in Macau.

Balance enquiries, reloading and refunds[edit]

Balance enquiry[edit]

Enquiry machines can be found in all MTR station and Octopus Service Point in some MTR station. Place any Octopus merchandise on these machines which show the stability together with a historical past of final ten usages. Card customers can also test the stability and final 3-month transactions on cellular with Octopus app. For some Octopus merchandise, just like the twentieth Anniversary Special Edition, as much as 40 transactions could be checked on the app.
After every fee, the remaining worth and money deducted are additionally proven on the cardboard reader in addition to the receipt.


Money could be credited to the cardboard by means of a variety of methods. In basic, all playing cards can top-up in multiples of HK$50. As for Elder playing cards, Personalised Octopus Cards with “Student” or “Person with Disabilities” id, these playing cards could be topped-up in multiples of HK$10, however this needs to be executed at MTR Customer Service Centre solely.

“Add Value Machines” are put in in any respect MTR stations and so they settle for money solely.[44] Alternatively, playing cards could also be topped up with money at authorised service suppliers resembling PARKnSHOP, Wellcome, Watsons, 7-Eleven, Circle Ok, and Café de Coral, and in addition at customer support centres and ticketing workplaces at transport stations.[45]

In chosen retailer, change can be put into Octopus card after a money fee.[46] Other than that, numerous spare cash can be added into Octopus card on “Coin Carts”, a automobile operated by Hong Kong Monetary Authority.[47]

The Octopus “Automatic Add Value Service” (AAVS) is an automated top-up Octopus technique. This service permits for cash to be routinely deducted from a credit card and credited to an Octopus card when the worth of the Octopus card is lower than zero. The credit card used should be one supplied by one in all 22 monetary establishments that take part in AAVS.[48] Participating banks embrace HSBC, Bank of China, and Hang Seng Bank. Depend on candidates’ default, HK$150/250/500 is added to the cardboard every time worth is routinely added.

The “O! ePay” cellular wallets, which can be run by Octopus firm, additionally permits customers to switch cash between itself and Octopus playing cards. The switch quantity could be all the way down to 10 cents.

An Octopus card might retailer a most worth of HK$3,000,[49] with an On-Loan card having an preliminary deposit worth of HK$50 and a Sold card having no preliminary deposit worth. Negative worth is incurred on a card whether it is used with inadequate funds – each kinds of playing cards might carry a most destructive worth of HK$35 or HK$50(relies on card difficulty date) earlier than worth must be added to them once more to be used.[50] At the time, the utmost price of a visit on any of the rail networks besides the Airport Express and top quality of the MTR East Rail line was HK$34.8, the price of travelling between East Tsim Sha Tsui station and Lo Wu station;[51][52] the present most price is HK$55.3, the price of travelling between Disneyland Resort station and both Lo Wu station or Lok Ma Chau station.

Card refund[edit]

An Octopus card could also be returned to any MTR Customer Service Centre for a refund of the remaining credit saved on it. A dealing with price could also be charged for the refund – HK$11 for an nameless On-Loan card that had been in use for fewer than 90 days, and HK$10 for a Personalised On-Loan card that was issued on or after 1 November 2004. A refund is instantly offered on the time an nameless On Loan card is returned, until it has greater than HK$500 saved on it. A Personalised On-Loan card or an nameless On-Loan card with greater than HK$500 saved on it must be despatched again to Octopus Cards Limited for refund processing, wherein case, the refund for a Personalised On-Loan card could be accessible in eight days, and that of an nameless On-Loan card could be accessible in 5 days. If a broken On-Loan card is returned for refund, a HK$30 levy could be charged to the cardholder.[53]

Octopus Administrative Fee[edit]

Start from 1 October 2020, Octopus will cost a HK$15 Inactive Octopus Administrative Fee yearly, till the load and deposit are all deducted. The card will then decommissioned and can’t be reactivated. For these On-Loan Adult Octopus issued on or after 1 October 2017, and has not had any add worth or fee transaction for 3 years will turn into an Inactive Octopus. The Administrative Fee will solely apply to Anonymous On-Loan Adult Octopus and Personalised On-Loan Octopus for patrons aged 18 – 59 with out concession. [54]

Types of playing cards[edit]

There are two important kinds of Octopus card (On-Loan and Sold), and two much less widespread varieties (the Airport Express Tourist and the MTR Airport Staff).

Main kinds of playing cards[edit]

On-Loan playing cards[edit]

On-Loan playing cards are issued for utilization in day-to-day capabilities, primarily for fare fee in transport programs. They are additional labeled into Child, Adult, Elder, and Personalised classes, with the primary three based mostly on age and totally different quantities of fare concession.[55] With the exception of the Personalised playing cards, On-Loan playing cards are nameless; no private data, bank account, or credit card particulars are saved on the cardboard,[56] and no identification is required for the acquisition of those playing cards. If an proprietor loses a card, solely the saved worth and the deposit of the cardboard are misplaced. On-Loan Octopus playing cards could also be bought in any respect MTR stations, the KMB Customer Service Centre, New World First Ferry (NWFF) Octopus Service Centres, and the New World First Bus (NWFB) Customer Service Centre.[57] A student on-loan Octopus Card was initially issued, however was discontinued in 2005.[58]

Types of On-Loan Octopus playing cards
Type Colour Cost and use
  • Gold (discontinued)
  • Combined colours from all variations
  • Black[59]
  • Grey
The customary model of the Octopus card. This card is offered for HK$150 with an preliminary worth of HK$100. This color can be used for the brand of Octopus Cards Limited, the operator.
Child Children aged between 3 and 12. This card is offered for HK$70 with an preliminary worth of HK$20. Children’s fares are deducted the place relevant.
Elder Only permit for use by senior residents of age 65 or above, the place authorities subsidy on fares is utilized, costing solely $2 per eligible journey on eligible public transport. If no elder fares can be found, grownup fares are deducted. This card is offered for HK$70 with an preliminary worth of HK$20.
  • Same because the grownup model, with identify of the holder (and a photograph if requested) printed on the again
This Personalised card is accessible upon registration. This software price for this card is HK$100 with an preliminary worth of HK$30 and a dealing with cost of HK$20.

  • Registered students of Hong Kong’s Education Bureau may apply for this card with “Student Status”, and cardholders obtain discounted fares on the MTR and the choose routes on KMB
  • Eligible individuals with disabilities, after Social Welfare Department approval, might apply for a Personalised Octopus with “Persons with Disabilities Status” at HK$50 deposit. Other charges are waived by MTR and Octopus

Above statuses have expiry date which could be checked at MTR enquiry machines. Holders might renew and prolong their standing interval by submitting software to MTR.

Student (discontinued) For students attending secondary colleges and universities. Discontinued in 2005 and changed by Personalised Octopus Card.

Personalised playing cards[edit]

The Personalised card is accessible on registration. The identify and, if opted, a photograph of the holder are printed on the playing cards. They can operate routinely as a Child, Adult, or Elder card by recognising the cardholder’s age saved on the cardboard, therefore accounting for various concessionary fares. As of 2003, there have been 380,000 holders of Personalised Octopus playing cards.[60] In addition to all of the capabilities of an bizarre card, this card can be utilized as a key card for entry to residential and workplace buildings.[23] If a Personalised card is misplaced, the holder might report the loss by telephone or on the internet to stop unauthorised use of the cardboard. A refund or a brand new personalised card, depend upon holder selection, will then be mailed to the holder of the cardboard. The refund comprises the deposit and the worth that remained on the cardboard three hours after the loss is reported, minus a HK$30 card price and a HK$20 dealing with price.[61]

Schools in Hong Kong can use the Octopus card to document student attendance.

A Personalised card with “student status” is accessible for students in Hong Kong. To be eligible for this card, the applicant should be a full-time Hong Kong student aged between 12 and 25.[62] This sort of Personalised card is routinely issued to a student who applies for student concessionary privileges. Additionally, they can be utilized for college administrative duties such because the recording of student attendance and the administration of library loans.[24]

Sold playing cards[edit]

In distinction to On-Loan playing cards, Sold playing cards are sponsored and branded playing cards.[63] They are memento playing cards which can be ceaselessly launched by Octopus Cards Limited. The designs for these playing cards often come from fictional characters in common tradition, or they’re impressed by Chinese cultural occasions resembling Chinese New Year. These playing cards are offered at a premium, have restricted or no preliminary saved worth, and can’t be refunded, however they’ll in any other case be used as bizarre playing cards. An instance of the Sold card is the McMug and McDull assortment. It was launched on the finish of January 2007 to coincide with the start of the Year of the Pig, it options two otherwise designed variations of the cardboard and is offered for HK$138 per set. Each set comes with an Adult Octopus card, with a pouch for the cardboard, an identical strap and a Mcmug or Mcdull decoration.[64] Octopus Cards Limited has launched new collections of those playing cards for such events because the Mid-Autumn Festival, the passing of the yr 2004, and the discharge of the film DragonBlade. Sold Octopus playing cards could also be bought at chosen MTR stations, and all 7-Eleven shops.[57]

Alternative designs (Sold playing cards)[edit]

Other than the Octopus card itself, operator Octopus Cards Limited additionally sells watches and cell phone covers that operate as nameless Octopus playing cards. The kinds of watches accessible embrace wrist watches, pocket watches, and watch key chains. The cell phone covers had been particularly designed for Nokia fashions 3310 and 3330, and iPhone 4 and 4S.[65] As with the cardboard itself, these merchandise are utilized by waving them over a card reader. They could also be reloaded with cash worth the identical manner as the cardboard itself, together with automated reloading by way of the Automatic Add Value Service, with the exception that they can’t be reloaded at Add Value Machines on account of their shapes.[66] An Octopus watch or cell phone cowl could also be saved with a most of HK$3,000, however do not need any preliminary saved worth on the time of its buy. It might have a most destructive worth of HK$35 as with an Octopus card.[65] These merchandise are usually not refundable for his or her prices, however the remaining worth saved on them could also be refunded if they’re broken, with the broken product itself additionally returned to the shopper.[66]

In June 2007, a brand new set of restricted version merchandise was introduced, that includes Mini Octopus playing cards and Child Octopus Wristbands. The Mini Octopus playing cards, accessible in Adult and Elder editions, measure 4.7 cm by 3 cm (1.85 in by 1.18 in) and work as common (nameless) Adult and Elder, respectively, Octopus playing cards. The Child Octopus Wristbands are plastic wristbands with a watch-like spherical face and work as common Child Octopus playing cards.[67] The similar value-adding talents and limitations because the aforementioned watches and cell phone apply.

Special-purpose playing cards[edit]

The special-purpose card, Airport Express Tourist Octopus, was launched by Octopus Cards Limited to focus on vacationers in Hong Kong. Two variations of this card are supplied, a HK$250 card with a free single journey on the Airport Express, the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) practice line that runs between the Hong Kong International Airport and the city areas of Hong Kong, and a HK$350 card with two free single rides included. The airport journeys are legitimate for 180 days from the date of buy. Both variations permit three days of limitless rides on the MTR and embrace a HK$50 refundable deposit. Usable worth on these playing cards could also be added if vital. These vacationer Octopus playing cards could also be used solely by vacationers staying in Hong Kong for 14 or fewer days; customers could also be required to provide a passport exhibiting their arrival date in Hong Kong. Airport Express Tourist Octopus is accessible for buy in any respect MTR stations.[68]

The different special-purpose card, the MTR Airport Staff Octopus, is accessible for the workers of Hong Kong International Airport and AsiaWorld-Expo, a conference centre near the airport, for commuting at a diminished fare between the airport and MTR stations by way of the Airport Express. Staff who apply for the cardboard might use it for a reduction of as much as 64 % for Airport Express single journey fares.[69] The MTR Airport Staff Octopus is accessible upon software by way of the corporate for which {that a} workers member works.[70]

Some native banks in Hong Kong have built-in the Octopus Card into their ATM playing cards and credit playing cards.[71]

Samsung Pay[edit]

Since 14 December 2017, the cardless Octopus, named “Smart Octopus”, is accessible with Samsung Pay, a cellular fee platform offered by Samsung. By utilizing the telephone’s NFC operate and magnetic safe transmission (MST) expertise, customers can faucet their chosen Samsung units on Octopus readers, paying in an identical manner as a traditional bodily Octopus playing cards.

Users can select to switch their card information from an present nameless On-Loan Adult or Elder Octopus to the Smart Octopus. All card worth and reward factors could be transferred and held within the Samsung Pay app. However, the bodily card will then be deactivated and may not be used. Users may select to buy a brand new Adult or Elder Smart Octopus within the app.

Smart Octopus supplies options like prompt transaction notification and in-app top-up operate, that weren’t accessible initially when utilizing a bodily card. Yet, such in-app top-up technique will cost 2.5% as dealing with price.[72][73][74] Such price was eliminated on June 2020, when the help of Apple Pay was launched.[75]

Apple Pay[edit]

Since 2 June 2020, Octopus playing cards could be added to Apple Pay in iOS 13.5. It was first found by builders that discovered code associating to Octopus with Apple Pay.[76] On 11 July 2019, it was introduced that Octopus could be coming to iPhone and Apple Watch in late 2019,[77] however the official launch was delayed until June 2020. As Octopus playing cards makes use of FeliCa expertise, solely Apple Watch 3 or onwards and iPhone 8 or above are supported. Octopus for Tourists [78] was launched on Aug 2020.

Users can select to create an Octopus card inside Apple Pay by topping up with the credit playing cards inside, or to switch information from an present bodily Octopus card. It helps Apple Pay’s Express Transit operate, which permits funds to be comprised of the iPhone or Apple Watch with no need to modify on the telephone or authenticating the fee with Face ID, Touch ID, or a password.[79]


An Octopus Card reader put in on a bus operated by Kowloon Motor Bus Company

The Octopus system was designed by Australia-based firm ERG Group (now Vix Technology). The firm was chosen in 1994 to steer the event of the Octopus undertaking and was accountable for the constructing and set up of the elements of the Octopus system.[80] Operations, upkeep and improvement was undertaken by Octopus Cards Limited, and in 2005, it changed the central transaction clearing home with its personal system.[4]

The Octopus card makes use of the Sony 13.56 MHz FeliCa radio frequency identification (RFID) chip,[81] with Hong Kong being the world’s first main public transport system utilizing this expertise.[82] It is a “touch and go” system, so customers want solely maintain the cardboard in shut proximity of the reader, and thus bodily contact just isn’t required. Data is transmitted at as much as 212 kbit/s (the utmost pace for Sony FeliCa chips), in comparison with 9.6 kbit/s for different sensible card programs like Mondex and Visa Cash.[82] The card has a storage capability of 1 KB to 64 KB in comparison with the 125 bytes offered by conventional magnetic stripe card.[83]

Octopus makes use of a nonstandard system for RFID as a substitute of the extra common ISO/IEC 14443 requirements, since there have been no requirements within the nascent business throughout its improvement in 1997. The working vary of the reader/author is between 30 and 100 mm (1.18 and three.94 in) relying on the kind of mannequin getting used.[56]

Octopus is particularly designed in order that card transactions are relayed for clearing on a retailer and ahead foundation, with none requirement for reader items to have realtime round-trip communications with a central database or pc.[84] The saved information concerning the transaction could also be transmitted by community after hours, or within the case of offline cellular readers could also be retrieved by a handheld machine, for instance a Pocket PC.

In observe, totally different information assortment mechanisms are utilized by totally different transport operators, relying on the character of their enterprise. The MTR equips its stations with native space networks that join the elements that take care of Octopus playing cards – turnstiles, Add Value Machines, value-checking machines and customer support terminals. Transactions from these stations are relayed to the MTR’s Kowloon Bay headquarters by means of a body relay large space community, and therefore onwards to the central clearing home system (CCHS) for clearing.[85] Similar preparations are in place for retailers resembling 7-Eleven. Handheld units are used to scan offline cellular readers, together with these put in on minibuses. Buses both use handheld units or a wi-fi system, relying on operator.[85]


The Octopus card makes use of encryption for all airborne communication and performs mutual authentication between the cardboard and reader based mostly on the ISO 9798-2 three-pass mutual authentication protocol.[86] In different phrases, information communications are solely established when the cardboard and reader have mutually authenticated based mostly on a shared secret entry key. This signifies that the safety of the Octopus card system could be jeopardized ought to the entry key be uncovered. A stolen Octopus card reader could possibly be used with stolen Octopus software program, for instance, so as to add worth (as much as HK$3,000) to any Octopus card with out authorization.[87] Nevertheless, as of 2003, the Octopus card and system had by no means been hacked.[88]

Octopus card reader features a fail-safe that stops reader from initiating transaction when a couple of card is being detected on the similar time. On 11 February 2009, Sing Tao Daily reported that the fail-safe has been abused for fare evasion by means of the railway station turnstile. Numerous dishonest mainland Chinese passengers at Sheung Shui station and Lo Wu station had been stacking up 4 or extra playing cards earlier than breaking by means of the turnstile, pretending their playing cards have been touched with the reader appropriately however triggering the fail-safe intentionally to keep away from card worth deduction. Because of this, in the event that they get caught by the station workers, they’ll make an excuse of a {hardware} malfunction and provide the Octopus card with an unsuccessful transaction.[89]


The Octopus card system is owned and operated by Octopus Cards Limited, an entirely owned subsidiary of Octopus Holdings Limited.[90] The firm was based as Creative Star Limited in 1994 to supervise the event and implementation of the Octopus card system, and was renamed as its present identify of Octopus Cards Limited in 2002.[4] Creative Star was shaped as a joint-venture firm by 5 main transit corporations in Hong Kong – MTR Corporation, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, Kowloon Motor Bus, Citybus, and Hongkong and Yaumati Ferry. In January 2001, the shares of Hongkong and Yaumati Ferry within the firm was transferred to New World First Bus and New World First Ferry.[91] In the identical yr, along with MTR Corporation, the corporate was remodeled from its earlier non-profit making standing to a revenue making enterprise.[92]

Due to the enlargement of the corporate’s companies, Octopus Holdings Limited was established in 2005 and Octopus Cards Limited was restructured as its subsidiary. The enterprise of Octopus Cards Limited, being a fee enterprise, is regulated by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, whereas Octopus’ non-payment companies are usually not subjected to such regulation and are operated by different subsidiaries of Octopus Holdings Limited which can be unbiased of Octopus Cards Limited.[90] As of 2007, Octopus Holdings Limited was a joint-venture enterprise owned by 5 transport corporations in Hong Kong; 57.4 per cent by the MTR Corporation, 22.1 per cent by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, 12.4 per cent by Kowloon Motor Bus, 5 per cent by Citybus, and three.1 per cent by New World First Bus.[2] Since the Government of Hong Kong owns 76.54 per cent of the MTR Corporation (as of 31 December 2005) and wholly owns the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation,[93][94] it’s the largest efficient shareholder of Octopus Holdings Limited, and thus additionally the largest efficient shareholder of Octopus Cards Limited.

Initially, Octopus Cards Limited, then generally known as Creative Star Limited, was restricted to having at most 15 per cent of Octopus card transactions for non-transport transactions, because it operated beneath the Banking Ordinance. On 20 April 2000, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority authorised the corporate for deposit-taking, which allowed for 50 per cent of Octopus card transactions to be unrelated to move.[10][95] About HK$416 million was deposited within the Octopus system at any given time as of 2000.[96]

The Octopus card is recognised internationally, profitable the Chairman’s Award of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance’s 2006 Global IT Excellence Award for being the world’s main complicated automated fare assortment and contactless smartcard fee system, and for its progressive use of applied sciences.[97]

EPS add-value glitch[edit]

In February 2007 it was discovered that when prospects added worth to their playing cards at self-service add-value factors situated in MTR and Light rail stations, their bank accounts had been debited even when the transactions had been cancelled.[98] Octopus Cards Limited claimed that the fault was on account of an improve of communication programs. Initially, two instances had been reported. The firm then introduced that the usage of the fee system, Electronic Payment Services (EPS), at add-value service factors could be suspended till additional discover, and that it had began an investigation into the explanations for the issue.[99]

On 27 July 2007 it was introduced that the defective transactions could possibly be traced again to 2000, and {that a} whole of three.7 million Hong Kong {dollars} had been wrongly deducted in 15,270 instances. The firm reported that there may be instances relationship to earlier than 2000, however that solely transactions from the previous seven years had been stored. The firm acknowledged that it could co-operate with EPS Company Limited, operator of Electronic Payment Services, and banks, to contact prospects concerned and prepare a refund inside ten weeks’ time.[100]

On 21 December 2007 the corporate introduced that it could completely stop all transactions utilizing EPS as a result of it couldn’t assure that such issues wouldn’t happen once more.[101]

Privacy abuse[edit]

On 15 July 2010, regardless of Octopus’ claims to have by no means offered information, a former worker of the China insurance firm claimed China bought information for two.4 million Octopus customers.[102] On 20 July, Octopus acknowledged promoting prospects’ private particulars to China and CPP, and began an inner evaluate of their information practices.[103] Octopus Holdings made 44 million Hong Kong {dollars} ($5.7M USD) over 4.5 years.[104] Roderick Woo Bun, Hong Kong’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, gave radio interviews and referred to as for clear investigation, however his time period expired on the finish of July 2010.[103] Allan Chiang Yam-wang was introduced because the incoming Privacy Commissioner. This information was met with protests and worldwide outrage, on account of his prior historical past of privateness invasions involving cameras used to spy on his workers on the Post Office, and disclosing a whole lot of job candidates’ private information to firms.[105] Outgoing Privacy Commissioner Woo pledged to complete a preliminary report on the Octopus privateness abuse earlier than his time period ends, and referred to as for a brand new regulation making it a legal offence for corporations to promote private information.[106]


As NFC and cardless fee are extra common in mainland China, some opinions query the sluggish expertise improvement of Octopus firm. Among these commentaries, some counsel market monopoly and authorities perspective to Octopus firm are the contributing issue, because the social transportation subsidies are solely by means of Octopus system.[107] Octopus firm CEO Sunny Cheung reassured that new expertise could be launched briefly time period, resembling QR code fee, integration of Octopus card with Samsung Pay and Peer-to-peer lending.[38]

See additionally[edit]


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