The Octopus Card has made its way into all facets of everyday financial transactions in Hong Kong. The original RFID card debuted 20 years ago for use on the city’s underground transit system, but quickly spread to other forms of transport as well as restaurants, clothiers, jewelers and much more. All customers had to do was add value to the card, either with cash or through a recurring bank or credit balance transfer.
This week, Octopus dipped its suction cups into NFC-based technologies by partnering with Samsung Pay to debut the new Smart Octopus virtual card, available on the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 8. It allows users to replace their physical Octopus card and any links with loyalty programs and funding sources it has and transfer all of that, as applicable, onto Samsung Pay. With this, consumers can immediately get notification on purchase receipts — something that was only accessible via web browser or at certain terminals.
Users can also use a card in their Samsung Pay wallet to fund the Smart Octopus card, though there’s a 2.5 percent fee put onto every value addition.
It turns out that existing contactless payment systems, like even SuiCa in Japan, can integrate quite nicely. Will it be only time before one subsumes the other? We’ll know at some point.