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The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has added a feature to its digital yuan payment app that allows users to continue making offline payments using the central bank’s digital currency (CBDC) from their Android NFC smartphone, even if their device is out of power.

Once they activate the Tap to Pay feature in the app, users can set a limit on the number and value of digital yuan payments that can be made from their smartphone when the battery is low or there is no internet connection.

Local media did not mention that the feature uses smartphone NFC technology, but the PBOC has previously tested offline NFC smartphone payments, as well as NFC “hard wallets” and NFC wearables that allow users to make in-store and transit payments without contact

“The system is available on Android-based mobile phones and will be available on other phones in the future,” Yicai Global reported.

“Users can find payment without internet or power in the payment settings of the e-yuan app.

“The convenient feature has raised security concerns, particularly whether other people can spend money using a lost or stolen mobile phone.

“However, it is necessary to enter the verification code on the device if the payment exceeds the codeless quota, and the payment will only proceed if it passes the system verification,” the expert told Yicai Global. Users can also set payment limits in their phone settings.

“In addition, if users have lost their mobile phones, they can access the e-yuan app on another mobile phone to stop the powerless payment function.”

The PBOC reported in October 2022 that the digital yuan had been used to handle 360 ​​million transactions with a total value of more than 100 billion yuan (US$14 billion) since it began pilot CBDC operations in December 2019.

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