What you need to know
- Hong Kong's Octopus Card now supports Apple Pay.
- The card is a popular choice for transit and retail purchases.
- It had been rumored for a launch on Apple Pay since 2017.
After a long wait, Hong Kong's Octopus card is finally available for Apple Pay. Reported by Ata Distance, the card is now available for iPhone and Apple Watch owners to add the card to their Wallet app to start making contactless payments.
"Good news for long suffering Hong Kong iPhone users: press invitations labeled 'Redefining Mobile Payments' went out to local media outlets signaling that Octopus Cards Limited (OCL) is finally launching Octopus for Apple Pay on June 2 local Hong Kong time. An Octopus system glitch on May 18 that temporarily offered a non-functioning option to add Octopus to Apple Pay indicated a service launch was near. The press event is scheduled for 12:30 pm, service launched just before 1 am local time."
The report says that the card is compatible with the iPhone 8 and later and that already having a Hong Kong card in your Wallet is key to unlocking the full benefits of the Octopus card when using it with Apple Pay.
"Apple Pay Octopus is just like Apple Pay Suica with Express Transit. It can be used on iPhone 8 and later, and Apple Watch Series 3 and later. Apple devices from anywhere can add and use Octopus thanks to Apple global NFC support but practical use is limited to having a Hong Kong issue Mastercard, Visa or Union Pay bank card already in Wallet."
The card had been rumored to launching on Apple Pay since 2017 but had been delayed until now. It is unclear as to why it was delayed for so long - some speculate a slow testing period while others claim political issues.
"There has been endless speculation regarding the reasons for the Apple Pay Octopus delay. Technically it could have launched on iOS 12 but was held back for an unbelievably long test period over 2 major iOS versions, running from December 2018 and iOS 12 all the way to May 2020 and iOS 13.5, the last major release before iOS 14."
Octopus Card cardholders can add their card to their Wallet app starting today for use on the iPhone and Apple Watch.