Octopus launches 'tap-and-go' smartphone functionality

Samsung and Octopus Cards announced a partnership, making Octopus payments available in Samsung Pay, meaning that Samsung Pay users will be able to pay using the mobile wallet with NFC technology at all Octopus acceptance points - including on public transport, 21,000 retail outlets, online shopping, recreational facilities, vending machines, self-service kiosks, parking and more - starting from 9am on 14 December 2017.

While MTR recently announced that tickets can now be purchased at select stations using WeChat Pay this marks the first move towards real cashless payments on public transport in Hong Kong.

“Besides leading the smartphone market in Hong Kong, Samsung has always strived to bring great convenience to users’ daily lives through innovative technologies. Our partnership with OCL is a perfect manifestation of this commitment,” said Yiyin Zhao, vice president and head of IT and mobile communication business for Samsung Electronics H.K. Co. Ltd.

“Together with Octopus, the go-to payment method for most transportation operators and retail stores, Samsung hopes to bring a revolutionary smart mobile payment service to Hong Kong.”

Sunny Cheung, chief executive officer of Octopus Cards said, “Through being issued with a new Smart Octopus or converting an existing on-loan Octopus, users will be able to pay and travel with their smartphones. New user-friendly features like instant transaction notification and in-app top-up function will add extra peace of mind and ease to customers. We believe Smart Octopus will become the new norm to smartphone users seeking greater convenience while carrying less. We are thrilled to have Samsung support us in making Smart Octopus possible, in turn bringing more values to customers.”

The press release from Samsung explained that using Smart Octopus in Samsung Pay allows users to enjoy payment as swiftly as with an Octopus card. After each transaction, a push notification pops up (and the device will vibrate if the devices are on normal or vibrate profile) from Samsung Pay. Moreover, the automatic add value service (AAVS) settings and Octopus Reward$ balance will be also displayed.

Smart Octopus in Samsung Pay offers the same features found within Octopus app, including transfer money with O! ePay, pay at online shops that accept Octopus, activate AAVS service, and collect incentives and rebates. To activate these features, users must authenticate using their iris, fingerprint or Samsung Pay PIN. Other functions that Octopus currently supports will be retained as well, such as the HK$50 'convenience limit', which allows users to create a deficit on their card up to HK$50.

For now, the Galaxy Note8, S8+ and S8 are the only phones that support the feature, with other compatible Samsung devices coming "soon".