Cash Cards Rule, Change Is Pass? In Hong Kong

from the haven't-we-heard-this-before dept

We’ve reported about the Octopus micropayment system which is very popular in Hong Kong before, and now that Dan Gillmor is hanging out in Hong Kong he’s written his own article about how people use Octopus to pay for just about anything that people elsewhere use spare cash to pay for. The key to adoption, he says, was making it useable on public transit. He also makes a big deal out of the anonymity aspect of the cards (something that people don’t pay enough attention to when discussing micropayment systems in the US and elsewhere). While everyone always wonders how similar these systems are to typical credit cards, I’d say that in the US, the Exxon/Mobil Speedpass style system is closer to Octopus – but not nearly as widespread (though, admittedly, it’s a bit more difficult to get such widespread coverage in a country the size of the US). The trick is just to make it easy and convenient for the user instead of easy and convenient for the credit card/debit card provider.

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Comments on “Cash Cards Rule, Change Is Pass? In Hong Kong”

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kai says:

More thoughts

I went to Hong Kong, and was very impressed by the Octopus card, too. Another great convenience is that Octopus does away with some of the awkwardness of being a clueless tourist. In many places, the busses/trains have these complicated fare schedules–you pay this much to go here, and that much to go there. When you can’t read or speak the language, this gets awkward. But with the Octopus card, you swipe once at the entrance station and once at the exit station and you don’t need to spend 20 minutes trying to decipher signs about how much you’re supposed to pay.

Anonymous Coward says:


“Each card contains a tiny radio and antenna, which draws power from the point-of-sale device to handle the transaction. You don’t have to take it out of your purse or wallet to make it work.”
So, what’s to stop someone from setting up a hidden point-of-sale device and robbing passers-by? Or even walking around robbing people?
Anybody know of a more technical site?

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