China introduces digital yuan payments in Ningbo subway and Guangzhou buses

Ningbo subway riders and Guangzhou bus riders will be able to buy their tickets using the state-issued digital currency.

Residents and visitors in two other Chinese cities will pay public transportation fares with digital yuan.

Ningbo Rail Transit, the operator of the subway system in the city of Ningbo in the eastern province of Zhejiang, has launched payments in digital yuan, the central bank digital currency (CBDC) issued by the People’s Bank of China. The company announced that 125 stations will accept the coin.

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The city’s 9.5 million citizens and visitors can now pay for their subway tickets via the Ningbo Rail Transit app. To do so, they will need to link an e-CNY wallet – opened at one of the six major Chinese banks involved in efforts to popularize the digital incarnation of the national currency – to the app.

Passengers will have to scan a QR code with their smartphones at turnstiles to make a payment. Some of those who choose the digital yuan option will get a bonus incentive and their ride will cost them just one cent in a promotion that will run until September 4, according to reports.

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China keeps expanding the pilot area of the digital yuan project. Nine subway systems in different parts of the country now accept the digital currency. These include subway stations in the capital, Beijing, where e-CNY payments were introduced last year.

Meanwhile, authorities in Guangzhou have allowed bus passengers to buy tickets with digital yuan. They will be able to use their e-CNY wallets on 10 bus routes, some of which offer sightseeing tours to visitors to the city.

To take advantage of the new payment method, riders and tourists will again need to download and install the digital yuan application and create a wallet on their cell phone. When they board a bus, they can use the on-board electronic toll terminal to pay the fare.

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