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China Introduces Student Digital Yuan Card to Track Purchases in New Trial

China’s digital yuan development has upped the ante since the turn of the year. The number and variety of trials have continued to increase, spreading the web of implementation options. Innovative methods of implementing the digital yuan have been unfolded, most recently of which is the student card that offers more inclusiveness to another category of users.

A digital yuan smart student ID card has been released in China for the first time. In a trial exercise, this card, which is practically in the form of a mobile SIM card, was offered to students at the Hainan Lu Xun Middle School. This exercise joins the likes of using the digital yuan during the Winter Olympics, and the recent trials across more regions in China as milestones achieved so far in 2022.

For the record, the use of regular smartphones is not permitted in lower and middle schools in China. Hence, despite the SIM card nature of the newly released digital yuan ID cards, they can only be used with smartphones with special features. These features allow for the peculiar design and functionalities for which the digital yuan smart student ID card was built.

The digital yuan smart student ID card was developed by China’s biggest bank, ICBC, in conjunction with China Mobile. The technical capabilities of the feature phone include supporting NFC for payments and identity, and GPS functionalities. The GPS on the phone is to enable tracking, since minors can be involved in the use of this technology, most especially in this trial period. Another added feature on the smartphone is an activation that allows up to three family members to be programmed for speed dialing.

The unique features of the digital yuan smart student ID card enable the transactional activities of the students to be trackable and traceable. It also promotes the security of the holders, who in this case are mainly minors, hence the GPS location enablement. These features ensure that a child will not use the card beyond the geographically permitted limits without being detected.

In the course of the ongoing trial, a child in the Hainan Lu Xun Middle School can only use the digital yuan smart student ID card within the school campus. However, there can be a modification by the school for the students to be able to use the cards with a list of specified off-campus merchants. Parents of the students are also given access to monitor payments made by their children using the digital yuan smart student ID card.

Part of the control given to parents whose wards possess and use these cards is the ability to top up the cards remotely. This adds to the level of control over the spending habits of these minors, giving increased peace of mind to the parents over what and where their children may be spending their funds. From the government’s perspective, it also serves as an educational process that would instill compliance with third-party control and the knowledge that their electronic activities are tracked.

Although this innovation is currently being trialed among students who are predominantly minors, the overall idea of the implementation is to protect the vulnerable classes of society. This includes the aged and senior citizens who are equally in need of proper supervision and protection at all times. In many cases, especially with those in senior care facilities, their spending habits will need to be checked and their geographical locations monitored regularly.

China’s approach to the digital yuan trials and implementation has taken the dimension of inclusiveness. This is a key method of promoting adoption and socio-economic expansion. These and other implementations are the details that have set China’s CBDC project miles ahead of the rest from different parts of the world.


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