SBI, ICICI, IDFC, HDFC on RBI list for digital money pilot | Rare Techy


State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, First IDFC Bank and HDFC Bank are among at least five lenders shortlisted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to work on the retail digital currency (CBDC) pilot project. ), people familiar with the matter told ET.

The Reserve Bank is debating whether a retail CBDC (also known as CBDC-R) should integrate with the existing digital payment system or whether a new framework should be created. The retail digital currency pilot is expected to go live soon.

“Five banks have been selected to conduct the pilot with the help of NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) and RBI. Some customer and merchant accounts will be selected to roll out the retail digital rupee pilot soon,” said one of them. .

‘Two schools of thought’

Unlike the use of CBDC in the wholesale market – that pilot has already started – “the full implementation of CBDC retail has the potential to change the way we pay”.

More banks can be added to the sales pilot project than those mentioned above.

The RBI and the banks mentioned above did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The central bank is said to be considering anonymity for small cash payments of up to Rs 50,000, instead of cash. “Reasonable anonymity for small-value transactions like the anonymity associated with physical cash may be a desirable option for CBDC-R,” the RBI said in its CBDC concept note released last month.


According to the people mentioned above, the central bank is also considering whether existing QR codes and the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platform will be compatible with CBDC-R.

“There are two schools of thought within the RBI – one wants a whole new system for issuing CBDCs, the other wants it to be compatible with all existing payment methods,” said a banker involved in the process. “We will have to see what the RBI ultimately decides.”

The CBDC aims to reduce the dependence on cash as it still accounts for almost 80% of the total sales transactions in the economy, he added. Last month, the RBI became one of the first major central banks in the world to launch a pilot project with its own virtual currency, using the wholesale digital currency on a trial basis to settle transactions in government securities.


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