In general, as a tourist, you can buy your octopus card at any 7–Eleven, Circle K, VanGO or MTR Station in Hong Kong.
At Hong Kong International Airport Octopus Cards can be obtained at the MTR/Airport Express Customer Service Centres in the Terminal 1
More about the Octopus Card
Making Everyday Life Easier. That’s what the Octopus Card was intended to do when it launched in September of 1997. It’s a contactless smart card that is reusable and used for making payments electronically.
It was created in order to collect fares for the mass transit system throughout Hong Kong, and it was only the world’s second contactless smart card system. Korea launched UPass first. The popularity of the Octopus Card led to London’s Oyster Card being developed.
The Octopus Card has grown beyond its intended use- it can now be used in fast-food restaurants, services stations, vending machines, supermarkets, convenience stores, and parking metres and car parks.
In 2006 the World Information Technology and Services Alliance awarded the Octopus Card the Chairman’s Award for Global IT Excellence, in thanks to creating the world’s leading contactless system. There are over 20 million cards in use, which is three times Hong Kong’s population. It is believed that 95% of Hong Kong’s population, aged 16-65, use the cards. This equates to over 12 million transactions on a daily basis, totalling over $130 million.
To make a payment the card should be held against, or waved over, the card reader. The reader will beep to confirm payment has been deducted and display both the amount that was deducted, as well as the remaining balance. It takes just .3 seconds to make a transaction for public transport, and in retail readers just 1 second. When using the Octopus Card to purchase travel tickets, one pays less than a conventional ticket.
The Octopus Card offers two main types- the On-Loan and Sold, as well as two less common options- The Airport Express Tourist, and the MTR Airport Staff.
On Loan cards come in children, adult, elder and personalised categories. These cards are anonymous; no personal information is required in order to purchase these types of cards. In the event of an owner losing a card the stored value with be lost. You can purchase these cards at KMB Customer Service Centre, all MTR stations, Octopus Service Centres: New World First Bus and New World First Ferry.
The personalised card adds a photograph and the name of the holder on the card. It can function for any age group, as the cardholder’s age is stored within the card. This card offers the same functions as the On Loan card, however, it can also be used for access to office and residential building. If this card is lost it can be reported, the card will be rendered useless and a refund will be issued.
Sold cards are branded, and sponsored- they are frequently released by Octopus Cards Limited as souvenir cards. The designs are usually inspired by fictional characters from pop culture, or Chinese cultural events. They cost more than the standard card and cannot be refunded, in every other way, though, they function as an ordinary card.
Airport Express Tourist Octopus was launched as an option for tourists. There are two types available, one for $250 HKD which offers a free single ride from the airport and the $350 HKD option, which includes two free single rides. They are intended for Hong Kong’s tourists staying 14 days or less and are available at a special kiosk near the exit of the express train.