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China to promote 'all-purpose' social security card

(Beijing Times)

15:54, August 22, 2011

Edited and translated by Liu Xiaoning, People's Daily Online

China will strive to integrate financial functions into social security cards in the next five years, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People's Republic of China. The Ministry yesterday said that a total of 90 million new social security cards will be issued nationwide by the end of this year.

In order to implement an "all-purpose" social security card, the ministry plans to expand the service areas of social security cards to other applications, such as information recording, information inquiry and business processing.

At the same time, it is designed to closely resemble a bank debit card in use and will offer individual account payment services such as deposits, withdrawals and point-of-sale transactions. The move is aimed at improving the livelihood of citizens and facilitating the utilization of social welfare and financial services.

According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, as much as 100 million social security cards have been provided to Chinese citizens as of the end of 2010, and this number is expected to exceed 800 million after five years, which will cover 60 percent of the national population.

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