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Digital currency pilot gains pace; SBI, HDFC Bank step up campaigns

The Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot in India is gaining traction as banks accelerate their efforts to onboard customers, with the pilot now in its second phase. After covering major cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, and Chandigarh, banks are extending their reach to select customers in cities like Hyderabad, Indore, Kochi, Lucknow, Patna, Shimla, Goa, Guwahati, and Tier-II locations such as Varanasi. This expansion aims to attract more users to enrol in the pilot.

Impressive Response with Over One Million Users and 2,62,000 Merchants

  • The CBDC pilot for retail transactions using e-Re has garnered remarkable interest, with over one million users and 2,62,000 merchants already participating.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has called on banks to prepare for one million transactions a day using CBDC by the end of the year, highlighting the growing importance of digital currency in the Indian financial landscape.

Interoperability with UPI/QR Code to Boost Retail CBDC Usage

  • A significant development in the CBDC pilot is e-Re’s interoperability with the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and QR code.
  • This integration is expected to bring immense success to retail CBDC usage.
  • The facility of enabling e-Re usage through QR codes of the UPI network will promote interoperability and further drive e-Re transactions.

Top Banks Actively Seeking Customer Enrolment

  • Leading banks like State Bank of India (SBI) and HDFC Bank are actively engaging customers to enrol in the CBDC pilot.
  • Both banks have witnessed substantial interest from retail customers and merchants in urban markets.
  • HDFC Bank has already onboarded over 1 lakh customers and 1.7 lakh merchants, offering a UPI QR code interoperable with the digital currency.

ICICI Bank and Axis Bank Joining the CBDC Endeavor

ICICI Bank and Axis Bank are also actively participating in the pilot. While ICICI Bank is reaching out to select customers through emails and text messages, Axis Bank invites interested customers to notify them on their portal for future connection.

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