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What are Smart Card and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies?
  • Smart Cards are small electronic cards which can store and process data and are widely used to improve efficiency and standards in modern city life.


  • The contactless smart card uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology and is mainly used in Hong Kong as an electronic stored-value card.


  • RFID technology uses radio wave communication to identify an individual item.  The RFID tag, which is the core element of RFID technology, consists of a tiny silicon chip with an antenna.  The tag will transmit a unique identification code using radio signals when it is “interrogated” by a reader.
Key applications of Smart Card and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Smart Identification (ID) Card
  1. Introduced in June 2003, the Hong Kong Smart Identification (ID) card has a chip embedded in it, which has the capacity to store and process data.  This chip is designed with segregated compartments to keep immigration applications and other value-added non-immigration applications seperate.


  1. By verifying the fingerprint templates stored in the Smart ID card, eligible holders can make use of the e-Channels for speedy self-service immigration clearance.  


  1. Eligible cardholders may also apply for HKSAR passports through e-Passport self service kiosks by simply inserting their Smart ID cards into the machines for identity authentication.


  1. With its multi-application capability, the Smart ID card can be used as a library card at public libraries, as well as for booking sports and leisure facilities at self-service kiosks.


  • Smart ID card holders may choose to include a digital certificate in the card for secure electronic-transactions.
Digital Certificate
  1. Digital certificates are special software files generally issued by Government-authorised entities or certification authorities to verify the identities of persons online.  The digital certificate used in Hong Kong is issued by Hongkong Post Certification Authority, which is backed by Government of HKSAR.


  • Digital certificates facilitate online transactions to be carried out in a secure and convenient environment. They have a wide range of applications including online shopping, auction and travel services, e-banking and online personal credit report services, online securities trading services and e-government services.
  1. Octopus is an electronic payment system using a contactless smart card trademarked as “Octopus card”. Each Octopus card has a built-in microchip containing an electronic purse and other applications which can accurately record cardholders’ transaction details.  


  • The Octopus smart card system was introduced in 1997 for public transport transactions.  The cards are now accepted by more than 2 500 service providers including public transport operators, car parks, convenience stores, coffee shops, retail outlets, fast food chains and leisure facilities.  They are widely used on school and university campus for both transactions and identity checking purposes.
RFID Enabled Truck Control System
  1. Asia Airfreight Terminal (AAT) pioneered the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology in its Truck Control System (TCS) when the new expanded terminal began operating in early 2007.


  • The TCS is a computer system mainly used for controlling the flow of trucks and allocation of truck docks in AAT. Using RFID, the TCS has real-time information on the availability of truck docks. The system is connected with the Cargo Management System (CMS) providing the TCS with information on cargo storage locations in the terminal. Upon arrival of the trucks, the TCS can automatically assign an available truck dock that is closest to the cargo location. Besides its functional purpose, the TCS also provides AAT comprehensive information such as traffic volume, time of entry, exit and dwell time at the truck docks. These form the basis for service improvements and management decisions.
Autotoll and AutoPark
  1. The Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) service of Autotoll is a road transport system which allows the manual in-lane toll collection process to be totally automated. When a car, equipped with the ETC system transponder, passes through a tollbooth, the transponder communicates instantaneously with a device installed adjacent to the tollbooth to pay toll fees by deducting it from a pre-paid account.  The process is simple and swift with transactions place at speed up to 50 kilometers per hour. 


  • AutoPark is a “non-stop” parking payment method in car parks.  Motorists simply drive up to the barrier gates at designated car parks, which automatically read the tag information and open.  Payment is deducted from a pre-paid account and motorists can enjoy a complete drive-through experience.