Blockchain for Banking News

China produces CBDC guide for tourists in English

eCNY CBDC hardware wallets

China’s central bank and its Digital Currency Research Institute have been working to support foreign visitors who want to use its central bank digital currency (CBDC) on the mainland. For example, they introduced support to enable Hong Kong visitors to top up their wallets using Hong Kong’s faster payment system. 

Given that some stores are now reluctant to accept cash, the eCNY makes a viable alternative. This week the Digital Currency Research Institute issued a how-to guide for foreigners to use the digital RMB. That includes using the eCNY app or hardware wallets in the form of payment cards or wearables.

The mobile app lets visitors sign up with just their mobile phone number and supports 210 countries so far. To top up, users either link a Visa or Mastercard or visit a bank or kiosk.

We’ve included the full graphic below (it takes time to load) as it was squashed in our browser. This is the link to the original. While the CBDC is convenient for visitors, it’s also quite simple for tourists to sign up for the popular Alipay payments app. For those who prefer cash, the eCNY hardware wallets are an advantage.

Shenzhen, the region closest to Hong Kong, issued 30,000 digital yuan hardware wallets to foreign visitors during a shopping festival last November, according to 21st Century News

While most people might prefer the convenience of the app, the demand was sufficient that Shenzhen instituted a new facility to enable visitors to get rechargeable cards without a phone or internet connection. The downside is they must provide their passport, but it takes less than three minutes. The process is likely similar to electronic passport kiosks at many airports. Certain banks have automated machines that support recharging from Visa and Mastercard cards or by using foreign cash. One of the seaports in Shenzhen has 17 digital RMB card issuance machines.