China to issue millions of electronic social security cards


A woman scans a QR code to pay bills with electronic social security card at a "future drugstore" in Zhengzhou, capital of Central China's Henan Province, May 24, 2018. (Photo: Xinhua)

China has planned to issue at least 100 million electronic social security cards in cities across the country this year, according to a recent notice from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

The notice also shows that China would like to fulfill the full use of the electronic social security cards within three years, forming a comprehensive application mode for social security cards for both online and offline purposes.

According to the recent notice, all cities should open mobile payment services for the e-cards.

So far, China has 1.25 billion social security card holders, accounting for 89.6 percent of the total population, according to the MHRSS.

By Jan 23, electronic social security cards were issued in 230 cities in 26 provinces across the country, according to data from the ministry. Social security card holders can apply for an e-card through 58 apps.

The e-card, which applies across the country as a nationally unified social security card, can be used as a recognized form of ID and contains functions such as information records, self-service enquiries, medical insurance settlements and payments, and financial payments.

Each electronic social security card corresponds with an actual social security card. Therefore, card holders can get things done by scanning the QR code of the e-card even if they forget to bring the actual social security card.

The first electronic social security card was issued in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, in April 2018, and the e-card has been rapidly growing in popularity because it is easy to obtain and use.

An official from the ministry said that more than 25 percent of the social security card holders will have e-cards next year, and a nationwide unified social security card system will cover the payment and settlement.