How to Get an Octopus Card in Hong Kong

In most developed countries in the world such as Japan, Singapore, the UK, and other European countries, people heavily rely on public transportation. And for this to even be possible, the government has to invest a significant amount of funding to ensure that the public transport system is efficient and well-organized.

Here in Hong Kong, as it is quite a small city, public transportation is all you need to get anywhere. And since everyday travelling requires hundreds and thousands of fare transactions to process, the Hong Kong government has established a unified payment system to address this need across the country – through the use of the Octopus Card. If you’re staying here in the city for the first time, you may want to consider getting a card for your day-to-day travels for work or whatnot. Here’s how:

How to Get an Octopus Card in Hong Kong
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Getting an Octopus Card in Hong Kong

The Octopus Card is considered a necessary accessory when traveling here in Hong Kong whether for a short visit or a longer stay (i.e. work). There are two types of Octopus Cards: the On-Loan Octopus Card and the Airport Express Travel Pass.

For this post we will touch on the basics of getting the reloadable on-loan octopus card, as it is the most commonly used travel card in the city.

Where to Buy the On-Loan Octopus Card

The on-loan octopus card can be bought at any airport express customer service centre, the MTR customer service centre, and t other customer service centres of public transportation companies.

The on-loan octopus card is a reloadable stored value card that is convenient to use for both tourists and residents in Hong Kong. There are no documents required when purchasing an Adult or Child on-loan octopus card, but you will need to present your passport or other identification document when getting a Personalized Octopus Card.

The card comes with a refundable HKD 50 deposit which will be returned to you along with the remaining amount on your card when you surrender it after use or when you exit the country.

Here are the prices of an octopus card:

  • Adult (HKD 150) = HKD 50 Deposit + Initial Stored Value worth HKD 100
  • Children [3-11 yrs.](HKD 70) = HKD 50 Deposit + Initial Stored Value worth HKD 20
  • Elderly (HKD 70) = HKD 50 Deposit + Initial Stored Value worth HKD 20

How to Use the Octopus Card

Simply tap or swipe the card over the Octopus Card reader. The amount deducted as well as the remaining amount will be flashed on-screen after every transaction/tap/swipe. This would tell you if you need to “top up” your card for your succeeding trips.


The Octopus Card can store up to HKD 1,000. You can reload your card at hundreds of locations across the city.

You can top up your card at any Add Value Machine at all MTR stations by simply inserting HKD 50 or HKD 100 notes into the machine.

You can also process this transaction at Customer Service Centres of the MTR, the Airport Express, the Light Rail, the KMB, or the Citybus at the Airport Ground Transportation Centre.

You can also process transactions at supermarkets and convenience stores such as Circle K and 7 Eleven outlets.


When you leave Hong Kong, you can get a refund at the Customer Service centre at the airport or any customer service centres at MTR stations.  You will receive the refundable deposit of HKD 50 and the remaining amount in your card. There will also be a refund fee of HKD 9 if the card is returned within three months from the date it was issued.

Getting around the city is quite simple and efficient when you have the Octopus card which you can also use for payments in shops, supermarkets, department stores, fast food and retail outlets, cinemas, bookstores, public swimming pools, libraries, as well as parking spaces where an Octopus reader is available.

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