Six commercial banks allow customers to apply for virtual wallets. VCG
AI, 5G, cloud computing and other digital technologies are not only changing our lives but shaping the economy as well.
China’s six major commercial banks are stepping up digital wallet efforts to provide new impetus for the e-CNY trials in the country, as reported by Shanghai Securities News on March 23.
“The functions and properties of the e-CNY are exactly the same as those of the paper currency, except that the form is digital,” said Mu Changchun, head of the People’s Bank of China’s Digital Currency Research Institute.
Many people are puzzled by e-CNY and electronic payments. “Digital currency has the characteristics of both paper money and electronic payment,” said Wu Qianhong, a professor at the School of Electronic and Information Engineering, Beihang University. “In theory, digital currency can replace paper money, Alipay and WeChat payments.”
Compared with Alipay and WeChat payments, e-CNY features anonymity and security. E-commerce platforms that accept payments via e-CNY will not have access to users’ personal information. E-CNY users can open an anonymous digital wallet by registering a mobile phone number, and telecom operators cannot disclose customer information to the central bank or any third-party institutions. Mu said that e-CNY users’ privacy protection is at the highest level among all the existing payment tools.
Similar to Alipay and WeChat payments, using e-CNY requires an account. After obtaining the other party’s account number, users can enter the amount of digital money to be transferred and then enter the payment password to complete the transaction. However, the processes behind these transfers are different. For electronic payments, the transfer has to go through a third party, and the receivers will get the transferred money only when they withdraw money from banks. But e-CNY transfers only need a payer and a receiver to complete a transaction. Therefore, it guarantees risk-free payments, according to Wu.
In simple terms, e-CNY can be considered “money”, while electronic payments are like “wallets”. “Since Alipay and WeChat Pay are payment channels, they can use e-CNY for payment after upgrading,” said Wu.
“The promotion of e-CNY is a gradual and inclusive process”, Cheng Shi, the chief economist and managing director of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China International, wrote in an article for China Daily.