Use of Visa Inc.'s contactless payment cards has more than doubled in Hong Kong during the past year, according to data from the San Francisco card company.

Sales generated with Visa's contactless cards during the first half of this year reached $69.3 million, up 147% from the same period in 2009, it said last month. Transaction activity surged 148%, to 5.6 million purchases. The average contactless transaction was about $13.

Banks in Hong Kong had issued about 700,000 contactless Visa cards as of June 30, up 146% from a year earlier, and merchants had installed 7,400 contactless readers.

However, Visa is far from being the dominant contactless card player in Hong Kong — a position held by Octopus Card Holdings Ltd., which offers the contactless prepaid Octopus card that is widely used for public transit in Hong Kong, as well as at merchants.

More than 2,500 service providers, including public transport, parking, retail, schools and leisure facilities accept Octopus cards, through about 50,000 readers. The system handles more than 11 million transactions per day valued at more than $13 million.

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