Syfa & Ganjar

6 Differences between On-Loan Octopus and Tourist Octopus Card

Written by Syfa

In my previous article, I walked you through the process of purchasing an Octopus card in Hong Kong. This smart card is used for public transportation, eating out, shopping at vending machines and convenience stores, among other things.

There are several types of Octopus cards available, but the two most common ones are the On-Loan Octopus and the Tourist Octopus (Sold Version).

In this article, I'm going to highlight the differences between these two types of cards to help you decide which one to get. Let's dive into the details!

Daftar Isi

1. Design

Octopus Card On Loan
Standard On-Loan Octopus
Octopus Card for Tourist
Tourist Octopus (Sold Version)

The first noticeable difference between these cards is their design. The On-Loan Octopus card has a simple look. It features the Octopus logo with two overlapping circles, one blue and the other green, set against a black background. This contrast makes the logo pop.

On the other hand, the Tourist Octopus card is much more colorful and engaging. It's decorated with images of vending machines, The Clock Tower, the 'I love Shopping' emblem, and various other illustrations that showcase the vibrant life in Hong Kong. It definitely has a friendlier appearance.

2. Validity Period

When it comes to the validity period, both the Octopus On-Loan and the Tourist Octopus cards are quite similar. Each card remains valid for 1000 days from the date of purchase. If you don't use the card within this period, it will become deactivated.

However, there's no need to worry if your card gets deactivated. If you haven't used your Octopus card for three years or more, you can easily reactivate it. This can be done at any MTR Customer Service Centre or through the Octopus App and Octopus App for Tourist (available for iPhone users).

For additional details about reactivating your Octopus card, you can visit this page for more information.

3. Deposit Requirements

Receipt Octopus Card

When you buy an Octopus On-Loan card, it comes with an initial stored value of varying amounts and a HKD 50 deposit.

This deposit acts as a security measure to ensure the card maintains a minimum balance, preventing any inconvenience during use. For instance, if you need to enter an MTR gate but don't have sufficient balance, this deposit serves as a backup.

The term 'On-Loan' implies that the card is essentially lent to the user by Octopus Cards Limited, and thus, a deposit is necessary as part of this lending arrangement.

In contrast, the Tourist Octopus card does not require a deposit or an initial stored value. It costs HKD 39 and comes with no pre-loaded balance, allowing you to top it up as needed.

However, if you purchase a Tourist Octopus card from places other than convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Circle K, it often includes an initial balance ranging from HKD 50 to HKD 100. Consequently, the selling price varies based on this initial balance.

4. Refund Policies

customer service center mtr

Following up on the previous points, the HKD 50 deposit and any unused balance on your On-Loan Octopus card can be refunded. You can do this at any MTR Customer Service Centre.

If you decide to return your Octopus card at the end of your trip, be aware that there is a handling fee. This fee is either HKD 11 or 1% of the card's remaining balance, whichever is higher. However, there are certain conditions for getting your balance refunded:

  • The unused balance on the card must be more than HKD 1,000.
  • The card must be returned within 90 days of issue.
  • The card should have been used for five or fewer payment transactions since the issue date. Note that bill payments and donations don't count towards these transactions.

For more details about the refund process, you can visit this link. Make sure to check it out!

In contrast, the Tourist Octopus card cannot be returned, and its purchase price is non-refundable. However, you can still get a refund of the remaining balance on the Tourist card, but the card will be deactivated. So you can only keep the card as a souvenir from your Hong Kong trip.

This is why the tourist card doesn't require a deposit or have an initial balance. And for those interested in learning how to check the balance on your Octopus card, please refer to the article below:

5. Place of Purchase

octopus card selling machine
Octopus selling machine in Hong Kong Airport

If you're looking to buy an On-Loan Octopus card, you can easily do so at any MTR station, except for the Racecourse station. As for the Tourist Octopus card, it's available only at specific locations:

MTR Ticket & Octopus Selling Machine:

  • Airport Station (Hong Kong International Airport)
  • Hong Kong West Kowloon Station

For more details on where to purchase the On-Loan Octopus, you can visit this page. And if you're interested in buying the Octopus card for Tourists, find the information here. These resources are very helpful for tourists traveling to Hong Kong by air, land, or sea!

6. Types of Cards Available

On-Loan Octopus (left), Tourist Octopus (right)

The last difference lies in the types of cards available. The On-Loan Octopus card offers more variety, including options for Children, Adults, Elderly, and Personalized Octopus cards. In contrast, the Tourist Octopus card is only available for Adults and Children.

So, those are the six key differences between the On-Loan Octopus and Tourist Octopus cards. Which one should you choose? Well, it depends on your needs.

If you're looking for a 'cute' card that can double as a souvenir, the Tourist Octopus might be your best choice. It's simpler as it doesn't require a deposit. However, if you're not interested in a souvenir and need a card that's suitable for any age group, the On-Loan Octopus would be more suitable.

Got any questions? Feel free to leave a comment below!

We are a newlywed couple who loves to eat and travel from one place to another. In this blog, we will share our favorite experiences when visiting various tourist attractions and tasting the delights of good food!

More about Syfa & Ganjar →

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We are a newlywed couple who loves to eat and travel from one place to another. In this blog, we will share our favorite experiences when visiting various tourist attractions and tasting the delights of good food!

More about Syfa & Ganjar →
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