My Octopus was always with me in Hong Kong, and it wasn’t an eight-legged friend I carried around with me. The Octopus is a cash card that mainly works for transportation, but can also be used many other places. Payment is made by just tapping the Octopus card against the Octopus sensor. It is a brilliant cashless system that is almost too easy to use! I’m annoyed anytime I have to run my credit card or use actual cash. Credit cards take so long, swiping, waiting, and signing, and cash is so dirty, and what to do with all of the change? The Octopus card just needs a tap and you are done, and I can look at a record of what I’ve spent which doesn’t happen with actual cash. I used it when boarding the MTR, buses, trams, ferries, trains, any type of transportation. I also used it at the grocery store, 7-11, Starbucks, restaurants, movie theater, etc.

Money is loaded onto the card at customer service stations in the MTR (Hong Kong’s metro system) or anywhere else Octopus is used. You can also set up recurring deposits to your Octopus card so it never runs out of money.

Besides the ease of use, I was also intrigued by the system, I wondered where the money was held, how it was transferred, and if someone was making money off the money that was stored on cards but not yet used. From what I found online, there were over 20 million Octopus cards issued and at any given time the average loaded value for the system was 50 million US Dollars.

If you are visiting Hong Kong, you can get an Octopus card at any MTR station. They require a $50 HKD refundable activate, plus $100 HKD initial deposit. The card is immediately available for use, and will give you discounts on all MTR rides. Visit their website more information