The Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot is gaining pace as banks have stepped up campaigns for onboarding customers and are getting good response from urbanites, say bankers, reported Business Line.
The pilot is now in the second phase and banks — after covering Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar and Chandigarh — are now reaching out to select customers in Hyderabad, Indore, Kochi, Lucknow, Patna and Shimla, Goa, and Guwahati along with some TierII locations such as Varanasi, by sending emails and text messages asking customer to enrol.
“The latest numbers show that the pilot for retail transactions using eRe has already attracted over one million users and 2,62,000 merchants."
“Recently, the RBI has called on banks to prepare for one million transactions a day using CBDC by the end of the year,” said Bibekananda Panda, Senior Economist, State Bank of India, said.
Recently, the most important development is eRe’s interoperability with the UPI/QR code, which is going to bring massive success to retail CBDC use, he said, adding, “The facility of enabling the usage of eRe through QR codes of the UPI network for transactions will boost eRe transactions and promote interoperability.”
While some banks are allowing customers to download the app, some are asking customers to notify them of their interest and reaching out to them later.
State Bank of India and HDFC Bank are among the top banks which are actively seeking customers to enrol for the pilot.
“There has been significant traction on the CBDC pilot and retail customers and merchants from urban markets are showing interest,” a senior SBI official said.
The exact numbers are expected to be shared by banks after the announcement of first quarter numbers.
HDFC Bank onboarded over 1 lakh customers and 1.7 lakh merchants under the CBDC pilot programme and also launched a UPI QR code interoperable with the digital currency.
This code allows HDFC Bank merchants who were onboarded on the bank’s CBDC platform, to accept payments from their customers in the form of Digital Rupee currency, boosting usage of CBDC in daytoday transactions.
ICICI Bank has been sending mails and texts to select customers asking them to download the app on their mobile to transact digital currency.
Axis Bank has asked interested customers to notify on its portal so it can connect to them depending on the nature of the pilot and other requirements.