A customer is seen registering for an e-CNY wallet card through a self-service machine at a branch of Bank of China in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, in February. [Photo/China Daily]
More e-CNY self-service machines for e-CNY wallet card issuance will be put into use this week in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, as the novel, cross-border payment channel is well-received by Hong Kong visitors.
More than 1,390 residents from the neighboring city have obtained digital renminbi consumption cards from the current two machines as of Sunday since the first day they were launched in Luohu district of Shenzhen on Feb 22, according to data from Bank of China.
The trio of the Luohu district government, the Shenzhen branch of BOC, and Octopus Cards Ltd — Hong Kong's major means of transport payment — jointly renovated the cross-border service to tackle payment difficulties for visitors who could not use the prevailing QR code-based mobile payment tools on the mainland.
The prerequisite for opening mobile payment accounts is to register a mainland bank card and mainland telephone number with the holder's name, which can be a nuisance and time-consuming for short-term visitors.
But applying for an e-CNY wallet card only requires a Hong Kong identity card and an Octopus app account to top up. As for making payments, it is as simple and convenient as tapping on the payment terminals, just like paying with a credit card. So far, such cards are accepted at more than 1,400 businesses, including convenience stores, shopping malls, cinemas and hotels, with the number still surging.
In addition, Luohu district authorities released a promotion of a 200-yuan ($28.86) government subsidy for each user, aiming to further stimulate consumption and attract more users.
Yuen Kai-chi, a Hong Kong resident, said he is attracted by the rebate but he also wants to have a taste of the new digital renminbi wallet. He successfully obtained an e-CNY card from a self-service machine in minutes near the Luohu checkpoint on March 2. He and his wife came to Shenzhen for entertainment and dining.
"I used AliPay or WeChat pay but it is not easy to top up these accounts as I don't have a mainland bank card. The e-CNY card is easy because I can directly use the Octopus app," he told China Daily in an interview.
Wang Haiwei, head of the e-CNY project at the Shenzhen branch of BOC, said e-CNY wallet cards are a relatively ideal solution for cross-border payments, especially small-value ones, for visitors who don't have mobile internet on the mainland.
"We are striving to expand to 17 such machines in total by the end of this week and some other districts in Shenzhen also have approached us to install them," Wang added.
He also said Hong Kong residents will be able to use physical Octopus stored-value smart cards to top up in the future.