Will Hong Kong Be The First Cashless Society?

from the cash,-credit,-or-walk-by? dept

Digital cash sounds great in theory, but it’s eluded the banking industry. Except maybe in Hong Kong, where millions use the Octopus card to pay for public transportation and purchases from a variety of retailers. The card is contactless, so there’s no swiping involved – making it very fast. It’s unlikely anything similar would ever catch on in the US due to our size and aversion to single standards. In a sense, though, we are pretty close with Visa and Mastercard – especially with their latest debit card products. But they seem to be staying away from micropayments (anything less than $10). If they are already the standard for credit and debit payments, why are they afraid of micropayments?

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Comments on “Will Hong Kong Be The First Cashless Society?”

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Capn Fishy says:

of course they are used for micropayments!

The most common usage of Octopus cards here in HK is for Bus or MTR (train) journeys.
if a HK$5 payment isn’t a micropayment, I don’t know what is!
This story has been wrongly reported all over the web. The octopus system has been in use for over 5 years now, it’s nothing new, plus, it’s completely anonymous unless you decide to buy a personalised one (which IMO is a bad idea)
It’s just used as a substitute for small change, ie, you fill it up at the 7-11 (up to HK$1000) and then use it for bus fares, train fares etc…hell you can even use them in McVomits!
It’s a lot more convenient than carrying wads of small change around, and it’s easier on the pocket lining too!
You can also get the things built into swatch-looking watches….cool!

Capn Fishy says:

Re: Re: of course they are used for micropayments!

it was a knee jerk reaction (apologies)…a similar thread was going on slashdot and the posters (including taco) obviously didn’t read the articles that were linked.
After re-reading your initial post, I see that you were saying that the scheme in the US is not used for micropayments.
For more info about the octopus, see this thread

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