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I am considering using the Octopus app instead of the Octopus card for a short stay in Hong Kong. I don't have data roaming in Hong Kong.

If I want to make a payment with the Octopus app, do I need data roaming for the payment to go through?

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  • FYI, you can get very cheap roaming via an eSIM these days.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jan 24 at 14:31

1 Answer 1

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This answer assumes one is opting for the tourist version of Octopus on iPhone and Apple Watch or Huawei Pay Octopus.

According to the FAQ, an internet connection is not required to make a payment (i.e., when tapping the device against a reader). However, it is required to set up, top up, and request a refund from the Octopus account.

For apple devices:

Use of Octopus on iPhone or Apple Watch (using non-HK issued credit/debit cards)

  1. Is an internet connection required for Octopus on iPhone or Apple Watch?

    Octopus on iPhone or Apple Watch does not require internet connection when paying for transport and retail purchases, as Apple Pay utilizes NFC technology for transactions.

    The exceptions are functions that require internet connections, e.g. adding a new Octopus to Apple Wallet, and requesting a refund via the Octopus App for Tourists.

For Huawei devices:

Use of Huawei Pay Octopus (using non-HK region registered Huawei Account)

  1. Is internet connection required for Huawei Pay Octopus?

    Huawei Pay Octopus does not require internet connection when paying for transport and retail purchases, as Huawei Pay utilises NFC technology for transactions.

    The exceptions are functions that require internet connections, e.g. adding a new Octopus to HUAWEI Wallet, top-up, collecting bonus / refund and requesting a refund via the Octopus App for Tourists.


I am not sure if tourists can set up a Smart Octopus in Samsung Pay. That said, an internet connection is not necessary either:

Use of Smart Octopus in Samsung Pay

  1. Is an Internet connection required for Smart Octopus in Samsung Pay?

    An Internet connection is not required for making transit and retail payments. However, it is required for some Smart Octopus in Samsung Pay functions, e.g. adding a new Smart Octopus in Samsung Pay, adding value to a Smart Octopus in Samsung Pay through the Samsung Wallet app, deleting Smart Octopus in Samsung Pay, making online payments or fund transfer from an Octopus Wallet*, etc.

    *The fund transfer service from Smart Octopus in Samsung Pay to Octopus Wallet account will cease effective 20 May 2020. However, the service of topping up Smart Octopus in Samsung Pay from Octopus Wallet account will not be affected.

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  • Huawei as "generic Android" or specific brand?
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Jan 24 at 3:20
  • @L.Dutch Last I heard Huawei is still locked out from the general appstore. The 'generic Android' version can be found here, but I don't see how that would require roaming at times the other versions do not.
    – Mast
    Commented Jan 24 at 3:46
  • @Mast I am not sure whether the 'generic Android' app accepts non-Hong Kong issued debit or credit cards when no physical Octopus card is involved, which is why I did not mention anything about the general app in the answer.
    – B.Liu
    Commented Jan 24 at 5:22
  • @L.Dutch Huawei devices only. More specifically, devices that shows up on this list. The Huawei app also only accept Mainland China, Macau or Singapore issued UnionPay credit or debit cards.
    – B.Liu
    Commented Jan 24 at 5:24

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