Jinan accepts e-CNY payments for bus rides, offers fare discounts

abdelaziz Fathi

Jinan, the vibrant capital of Shandong Province in China, has embraced the e-CNY – also known as the digital yuan – as a form of payment on its entire bus network.

Jinan has become the country’s latest city to enable digital yuan for paying for public bus tickets and subway rides, including major bus lines like the B52 and BRT5. After the initial pilot program, the city rolled out e-CNY for passengers to pay their fares on any of the area’s bus routes.

Jinan has recently upgraded its card readers and public transportation software to accommodate payments using the country’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). It also introduced fare discounts for users opting for CBDC payments. Passengers can get up to two discounted rides per day and a maximum of six discounted rides per month when utilizing the digital yuan as their payment method.

For rides priced up to 2 yuan, passengers will pay a mere 0.01 yuan per ticket. As for fares exceeding 2 yuan, passengers will be charged a reduced rate of 1.99 yuan.

This initiative aligns with a broader nationwide endeavor to promote the widespread usage of the digital yuan across various regions of China. Earlier in April, Changshu city in East Jiangsu Province allowed paying the salaries of civil servants and state-owned units entirely in digital yuan.

A home of 1.5 million people, Changshu is an important economic hub in the region, with a strong manufacturing industry, particularly in textiles and machinery. This was the biggest initiative to popularize China’s digital currency as it covers public institutions such as schools, hospitals, libraries, research institutes and media organizations in the city.

China’s sovereign digital currency has been recently embedded into WeChat, China’s leading social networking and payment app, in a fresh move to lure new users.

WeChat Pay, which counts more than 1 billion monthly active users, now facilitates the “express payments” function of the digital yuan wallet. The red packet feature is a function made popular over the years by the country’s dominant payments app Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Currently, the e-CNY is being tested in 23 cities and regions in 15 provinces and provincial-level cities. However, officials say that the main purpose of the pilot program for the time being is to build confidence in the digital yuan’s reliability and ease of use.

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