Octopus teams with Mastercard for online payments

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Established as a transit-fare and small-value payment card in Hong Kong nearly 20 years ago, the Octopus Card is making a transition to a virtual prepaid card for online shopping.

Octopus Holdings CEO Sunny Cheung Yiu-tong said this week that the company would partner with Mastercard to deliver the virtual card as part of its e-wallet, O! ePay, as soon as January.

The company has seen various other popular payment apps surface as competition in recent years with the likes of AlipayHK, WeChat Pay HK and Tap & Go becoming common on consumer smartphones in the region.

In securing a partnership to use the Mastercard platform and rails to reach global markets, Octopus becomes a fully online and offline payment platform.

"The virtual prepaid card will bring us to overseas markets," Cheung told the South China Morning Post. "As Hong Kong is developing into a smart city, the payment system needs to have choices and compatibility."

The prepaid card is designed to lure consumers who otherwise might not be able to obtain a credit card because of financial problems. Octopus Card has been the only payment option for transit in Hong Kong, other than cash, for the past two decades.

The firm has a stored value facility licensee, allowing it to provide online and offline payment service in Hong Kong. That license helped the company expand through the launch of O! ePay wallet the past few years and obtain the Mastercard partnership.

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