Hong Kong consumers are the first to be offered a chip-based credit card that is compatible with the international standards developed by Europay, MasterCard, and Visa.

Hutchinson Whampoa Ltd., a holding company that owns various retail outlets, is marketing the Compass Card, issued by Dao Heng Bank Group Ltd. through its subsidiary, OTB Card Co.

The smart card, which also has a magnetic stripe, will be accepted at all 12 million Visa merchants. Hutchinson-owned retailers, such as Park'n Shop, Watson's, Fortress, Hutchinson Telephone, Hutchinson Paging, and the Harbour Plaza hotel, have been outfitted with terminals that can read the cards.

The cards do not have debit or stored-value functions.

The Compass Card rewards consumers with a 0.5% rebate on general purchases and 1% back, in the form of Compass Dollars, for purchases using the chip function at Hutchinson stores.

If a consumer uses the Compass card at a participating merchant on her birthday, she will receive a bonus of 25 Compass Dollars.

Compass Dollars, stored on the chip, can be redeemed at Hutchinson stores. However, cardholders must spend the equivalent of at least $13 if they want to use Compass dollars, which can only be used to cover half of the purchase cost.

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