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Hong Kong's Octopus card now supports Apple Pay

Credit: OCL

Hong Kong's transit and retail Octopus card now supports integration with Apple Pay.

Support for the Apple Pay platform arrived in the latest update to the Octopus app, according to blog Ata Distance. That will allow for easy payments and transit transactions for users based in Hong Kong.

Octopus also supports Express Transit on iPhone 11 and iPhone XS series devices, allowing for tap-and-go payments without needing to authenticate.

Although originally rumored to launch in 2019, Octopus Cards Limited (OCL) delayed the launch of Apple Pay support to "later in 2020."

Hong Kong's Octopus card was launched in 1997 primarily to collect fares for the mass transit systems that blanket the area. It has since grown to retail, including most food venues. Other common uses for the cards include gas stations, vending machines, parking meters, and fee payments at public venues.

The card has grown into the second largest contactless smart card payment system in the world, only second to Korea's Upass. According to the card operator, there are more than 33 million cards in circulation — five times the population of Hong Kong.

Adoption in Hong Kong is nearly universal by the citizenry — the Octopus card is used by more than 99% of the population older than 16 years of age. The card operator notes that 14 million transactions are handled daily, totaling about HK$180 million ($23 million) per day.