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China’s Central Bank Publishes Digital Yuan Guide for Foreign Visitors

The People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank, has released a digital yuan service manual aimed at assisting foreign visitors in utilizing e-CNY for contactless payments. According to a report from local news sources titled “Discovering China’s Wonders with the e-CNY Visitor Service Guide,” published by the central bank, international tourists can now conveniently use digital yuan for payments by linking their accounts to their cards through the official mobile application.

Download e-CNY App and Open Digital Yuan Wallet

The “e-CNY” app, available on both the App Store and Google Play, facilitates registration for China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) accounts through authorized operators, typically local banks.

Even if visitors don’t possess an account with Chinese banks like Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) or Bank of China (BOC), they can still open a wallet without one. Wallet registration also accommodates phone numbers from over 210 countries and regions.

For users opting for an anonymous wallet, there’s no need to physically visit a bank or provide passport details. The payment limit for anonymous transactions is set at 2,000 yuan (~$282) per transaction, with a daily accumulated cap of 5,000 yuan (~$705).

In addition to providing a phone number during registration, users simply need to link their Visa or Mastercard to the wallet to initiate deposits. The central bank has also indicated ongoing efforts to incorporate more international card schemes into the system.

Top Up and Pay with Linked Account

To utilize the digital wallet for payments, users need to first top it up using their linked account. The funds can then be utilized for online purchases and transactions at local vendors that accept digital yuan. Any remaining funds can be easily deposited back into the linked accounts.

For international users, there’s an option to visit authorized operator bank counters to top up their wallets using RMB or foreign currency banknotes. Any balance left in the wallet can also be exchanged for banknotes at these counters.

In Hong Kong SAR, users have access to the “Faster Payment System” feature, allowing them to top up their wallets without any fees using Hong Kong banking accounts, including HSBC, Hang Seng Bank (HSB), Standard Chartered Bank, and other available options.

As outlined in the guide, users have several options for payment methods, including requesting a conventional card, opting for a card-shaped e-ink wallet, or making mobile payments through scanning or presenting QR codes and tapping similar to Apple Pay.

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