Octopus to develop into cash card
Octopus cards are slated to be given cash-card functions by next year, enabling users to buy goods.
Rob Noble, chief executive of Octopus-card vendor Creative Star, said the cash-card function would be suitable 'for small purchases, in maybe vending machines and other small-value, high-volume purchases'.
He said one of the first Octopus merchants would probably be 7-Eleven stores, where users can add value to their cards.
This would be Hong Kong's third cash-card system, after MasterCard's Mondex system and Visa Cash cards.
There are 5.7 million Octopus cards in use, compared with about 200,000 Mondex.
Creative Star yesterday announced a partnership with Dah Sing and MasterCard that allows Octopus users to automatically move $250 from their Dah Sing Mastercard to their Octopus card when the stored Octopus amount is depleted.
Mr Noble said Creative Star was in talks to roll-out similar services with other banks and credit cards. One partnership is to be announced next month.
Willie Fung, MasterCard Greater China general manager, said there would be consolidation in the smart-card industry as Octopus incorporated cash-card functions and Mondex formed partnerships with SAR public-transport companies to use its card on their services.