Indian banks begin testing digital rupee for contactless in-store payments

CBDC PILOT: Customers scan a QR code on their digital wallet bank app to pay using the digital rupee

India’s ICICI, IDFC First and Kotak Mahindra banks have begun enabling selected merchants to accept contactless in-store payments made using the retail version of the prototype digital rupee as part of the first phase of the Reserve Bank of India’s retail central bank digital currency pilot.

Retail giant Reliance Retail is the first merchant to confirm that it will be taking part in the trial. It will allow customers participating in closed user group tests to make QR code payments using the digital rupee at its Freshpik gourmet food stores with support from ICICI and Kotak Mahindra, according to local media reports.

IDFC First Bank’s in-store digital rupee test will use POS technology provided by sound-based payments solution provider ToneTag, while trial online retail transactions will be processed via Indian digital payments gateway CCAvenue.

How it works

“Accepting payments via digital rupee is as easy as it can get. Central bank digital currency is a legal tender, similar to sovereign paper currency, issued in digital form by the Reserve Bank of India,” CCAvenue says.

“On the CCAvenue checkout page, customers can simply scan a unique QR code from their digital wallet bank app issued by the participating banks and the digital rupee is transferred from the customer’s digital wallet to your digital wallet.”

Kotak Mahindra Bank will begin inviting “limited customers” with Android devices to download the digital rupee app and open a digital wallet linked to their bank account soon, the bank says.

The Reserve Bank of India launched the first phase of its retail CBDC pilot in December after it revealed plans to trial a prototype digital rupee in October 2022.

Indian banks begin testing digital rupee for contactless in-store payments was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.