Hong Kong MTR to accept credit cards, smartphones

The island-sprawling MTR network will eventually let you ‘tap and go’ with all manner of digital payments.

By David Flynn, March 20 2023
Hong Kong MTR to accept credit cards, smartphones

Having an Octopus card tucked away in your wallet has long been the sign of a frequent traveller to Hong Kong, but the smart card is set to lose its status.

Hong Kong’s MTR public transport system is switching to new station gates which will accept not only the iconic and versatile Octopus card (which can also be used in convenience stories, cafes and the like) but also conventional credit cards.

The first new entry/exit gates will appear from this month at selected MTR stations including Racecourse, Hang Hau and LOHAS Park, says the public transport operator.

Over 2,400 of the gates will be rolled out across the island-spanning MTR network, with the new design offer a wider thoroughfare for passengers.

The new wider MTR station gates.
The new wider MTR station gates.

An upgrade to the tap-and-go readers on new and existing gates will also allow passengers to use a credit card or travel money debit card – either in their hand or loaded onto their smartphone or watch – in place of an Octopus card.

The current MTR smartphone and smartwatch app for Apple and Goole Android already supports a virtual card – with the ability to transfer the balance across from your old physical card – and can be used for NFC-based contactless travel.

The MTR Corporation says it “aims to introduce contactless credit card ticketing service by the end of this year at the earliest,” noting the timeline is “subject to the progress of the installation of new gates and the addition of readers to the existing gates.”

Also read: How to use your Australian passport in Hong Kong airport’s time-saving e-Channel lanes

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