In , at the initial stage, card holders of first generation cardholders may voluntarily replace their cards at an Octopus Service Point without charge. First generation cards will be unusable by stages starting from January Less literally though the meaning is taken as the "go-everywhere pass". The English name Octopus card was also selected from the naming competition. Coincidentally, the English name coincides with the number eight in the Chinese name, since an octopus has eight tentacles.
The Octopus card was originally introduced for fare payment on the MTR;  however, the use of the card quickly expanded to other retail businesses in Hong Kong. They no longer accept coins and Octopus became the only form of payment accepted. Octopus cards also double as access control cards in buildings and for school administrative functions. Making or recording a payment using the card for public transport or purchases at Octopus-enabled retailers can be done by holding the card against or waving it over an Octopus card reader from up to a few centimetres away.
The reader will acknowledge payment by emitting a beep, and displaying the amount deducted and the remaining balance of the card. The MTR usually charges less for journeys made using an Octopus card instead of conventional single-journey tickets. On 6 November , Octopus Cards Limited launched Octopus Rewards, a program that allows cardholders to earn rewards at merchants that are partners in the program. Participating merchants provide consumers with tailor-made offers and privileges. Once a card is registered for the program, the cardholder may accumulate reward points by making purchases at participating merchants, and payments may be made in the form of cash, credit cards, or Octopus cards themselves.
To redeem the accumulated reward dollars , cardholders must use the entire value amount in whole, and may not elect to use it partially. If the purchase price is lower than the amount of reward dollars available, the amount difference remains stored on the card. Although taxis in Hong Kong are a popular form of transport, not all accept the Octopus card. On 27 June , after 10 years of negotiations between Octopus Cards Limited and the taxi industry, the first trial of taxis equipped with Octopus card readers was launched in the New Territories with taxis operated by the Yellow Taxi Group.
The Octopus card company said it would be upgrading the system to allow automatic account updating in the future. The Transport Department is against this approach for legal reasons, as taxi fare discount is illegal in Hong Kong. They and their taxi owner prefer to account their profit and rent in daily basis, while Octopus requires to transfer money through bank after a working day.
Plus, installation and service fee are also their concerns. In , Octopus Cards Limited announced its plans to re-enter the taxi payment market with their new mobile app for taxi drivers.
The mobile app is able to receive funds by tapping the passenger's Octopus card to the device's NFC reader, or by allowing passengers to scan the O! Usage of the Octopus card was extended to Macau and the Chinese city of Shenzhen in In Macau, the Octopus card was introduced in December when two Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in the territory adopted its usage as payment.
Place any Octopus products on these machines which display the balance along with a history of last ten usages. Card users may also check the balance and last 3-month transactions on mobile with Octopus app.
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For some Octopus products, like the 20th Anniversary Special Edition, up to 40 transactions can be checked on the app. After each payment, the remaining value and cash deducted are also shown on the card reader as well as the receipt. Money can be credited to the card through a number of ways. In selected store, change can also be put into Octopus card after a cash payment. This service allows for money to be automatically deducted from a credit card and credited to an Octopus card when the value of the Octopus card is less than zero.
The credit card used must be one offered by one of 22 financial institutions that participate in AAVS. The "O! The transfer amount can be down to 10 cents.
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On-Loan cards are issued for usage in day-to-day functions, primarily for fare payment in transport systems. They are further classified into Child , Adult , Elder , and Personalised categories, with the first three based on age and different amounts of fare concession.
If an owner loses a card, only the stored value and the deposit of the card are lost. Above statuses have expiry date which can be checked at MTR enquiry machines. Holders may renew and extend their status period by submitting application to MTR. The Personalised card is available on registration. The name and, if opted, a photo of the holder are imprinted on the cards. They can function automatically as a Child , Adult , or Elder card by recognising the cardholder's age stored on the card, hence accounting for different concessionary fares.
As of , there were , holders of Personalised Octopus cards. A refund or a new personalised card, depend on holder choice, will then be mailed to the holder of the card. A Personalised card with "student status" is available for students in Hong Kong. To be eligible for this card, the applicant must be a full-time Hong Kong student aged between 12 and Additionally, they can be used for school administrative tasks such as the recording of student attendance and the management of library loans.
In contrast to On-Loan cards, Sold cards are sponsored and branded cards. The designs for these cards usually come from fictional characters in popular culture, or they are inspired by Chinese cultural events such as Chinese New Year. These cards are sold at a premium, have limited or no initial stored value, and cannot be refunded, but they can otherwise be used as ordinary cards.
Each set comes with an Adult Octopus card, with a pouch for the card, a matching strap and a Mcmug or Mcdull ornament. Other than the Octopus card itself, operator Octopus Cards Limited also sells watches and mobile phone covers that function as anonymous Octopus cards. The types of watches available include wrist watches, pocket watches, and watch key chains. The mobile phone covers were specifically designed for Nokia models and , and iPhone 4 and 4S.
They may be reloaded with money value the same way as the card itself, including automatic reloading via the Automatic Add Value Service, with the exception that they cannot be reloaded at Add Value Machines due to their shapes. In June , a new set of limited edition products was announced, featuring Mini Octopus cards and Child Octopus Wristbands. The Mini Octopus cards, available in Adult and Elder editions, measure 4. The Child Octopus Wristbands are plastic wristbands with a watch-like round face and work as regular Child Octopus cards. The airport journeys are valid for days from the date of purchase.
Usable value on these cards may be added if necessary.
These tourist Octopus cards may be used only by tourists staying in Hong Kong for 14 or fewer days; users may be required to produce a passport showing their arrival date in Hong Kong. Staff who apply for the card may use it for a discount of up to 64 percent for Airport Express single journey fares. Since 14 December , the cardless Octopus, named "Smart Octopus", is available with Samsung Pay , a mobile payment platform provided by Samsung. By using the phone's NFC function and magnetic secure transmission MST technology, users can tap their selected Samsung devices on Octopus readers, paying in a similar way as a normal physical Octopus cards.
All card value and reward points would be transferred and held in the Samsung Pay app.
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However, the physical card will then be deactivated and can no longer be used. Users can also choose to purchase a new Adult or Elder Smart Octopus in the app. Smart Octopus provides features like instant transaction notification and in-app top-up function, that were not available originally when using a physical card.
Yet, such in-app top-up method will charge 2. Apple Pay integration is expected in iOS 13 to be released in autumn , as developers found code associating Octopus integration with Apple Pay. This allows payments to be made from the iPhone of Apple Watch without needing to switch on the phone or authenticating the payment with Face ID , Touch ID , or a password. The company was selected in to lead the development of the Octopus project and was responsible for the building and installation of the components of the Octopus system.
The Octopus card uses the Sony Octopus is specifically designed so that card transactions are relayed for clearing on a store and forward basis, without any requirement for reader units to have realtime round-trip communications with a central database or computer.
In practice, different data collection mechanisms are used by different transport operators, depending on the nature of their business. Transactions from these stations are relayed to the MTR's Kowloon Bay headquarters through a frame relay wide area network , and hence onwards to the central clearing house system CCHS for clearing. Handheld devices are used to scan offline mobile readers, including those installed on minibuses.
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Buses either use handheld devices or a wireless system, depending on operator. The Octopus card uses encryption for all airborne communication and performs mutual authentication between the card and reader based on the ISO three-pass mutual authentication protocol. This means that the security of the Octopus card system would be jeopardized should the access key be exposed. Octopus card reader includes a fail-safe that prevents reader from initiating transaction when more than one card is being detected at the same time.
On 11 February , Sing Tao Daily reported that the fail-safe has been abused for fare evasion through the railway station turnstile.
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