The People’s Bank of China has reportedly enabled Android users to make offline payments using digital yuan.
With a new function added to the bank’s digital yuan app, users can make payments from their smartphone using the central bank digital currency (CBDC) even if the device has no power or no internet connection, NFCW reported Monday (Jan. 16).
In practice, users of the app on an Android phone can activate the “tap to pay” function and set a limit on the number and value of offline payments that can be made, according to the report.
The ability to set a limit is meant to ease users’ concerns about security if their phone gets lost or stolen. Plus, those who have lost a phone can suspend the offline payment function by logging into the app from another mobile phone, the report said.
Chinese citizens had spent more than $14 billion worth of digital yuan as of late October, the People’s Bank of China reported at the time.
That included 360 million transactions made at 5.6 million merchants in 15 provinces that accept the CBDC.
China is far ahead of other major developed countries in developing a CBDC since it started in 2014, but its testing and rollout campaign has been slow.
For many consumers, the user experience of the digital yuan differs very little from existing digital wallets, but the People’s Bank of China has posited it as a more secure and private alternative with some cash-like qualities.
In October, People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang said the digital currency had “managed anonymity,” signaling that transaction data is secured and encrypted so that sensitive consumer information is not identifiable without legal authorization.
While the rollout of the digital yuan has been slow, it has also been steady and incremental.
Chinese authorities have been targeting the types of payments that will get the widest assortment of people using the CBDC, including to pay for rides on a bus or subway, for employee housing fund contributions, for food delivery and for eCommerce orders.