Octopus Cards Ltd. in December will launch a contactless smart card consumers may use in Hong Kong and in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. The card will support separate accounts in Hong Kong dollars and Chinese yuan, an official at the company tells PaymentsSource.

“The two accounts will be separate in their loading and deduction,” he says. “So the yuan account will be usable and reloadable in Shenzhen and the dollar account in Hong Kong with their relevant currencies.” Cardholders, however, may not transfer funds between the two accounts, the official adds.

Cardholders will be able to use the card in Shenzhen on the Shenzhen Tong network, a contactless smart card ticketing system built for the Shenzhen Metro, and at select retailers within the city. Octopus is still working on the system infrastructure, he adds.

Launched in 1997 to collect fares for the territory’s mass-transit system, Octopus was the first contactless smart card system in the world. It is now used virtually for all public transport in Hong Kong and in convenience stores and restaurants.

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