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E-Rupee and UPI interoperability is permitted by HDFC Bank.

As the central bank has been pressuring banks to integrate the interoperability between CBDC and UPI, other banks are anticipated to announce initiatives along similar lines.

MUMBAI: HDFC Bank, on Thursday, announced the launch of United Payment Interface (UPI) Quick Response (QR) code that is interoperable with Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or e-rupee, making it one of the first banks in the country to complete the integration process.

This move allows its customers to transact with money in their CBDC wallet across UPI QR code and is a big boost to Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) drive to increase the usage of e-rupee. Other banks are also expected to announce similar initiative as the central bank has been pushing banks to implement the interoperability between CBDC and UPI.

Earlier this week, RBI Deputy Governor T Rabi Sankar said that interoperability will boost CBDC transactions in the country. “Earlier merchants had to be onboarded and have a separate QR code for CBDC. This takes a lot of time. Therefore, we have decided to allow interoperability,” RBI deputy governor had said during an event organised by the Indian Banks Association on Tuesday.

The central bank is planning to increase the digital rupee transactions to 10 lakh per day by the end of the year from 5,000-10,000 per day now. The number of banks in the pilot has gone up to 13 from eight banks initially, and at present, there are 13 lakh users of the CBDC, including 3 lakh merchants. There were only 1 lakh users till April-end this year, which has now been increased to 13 lakh, Sankar had said.

HDFC Bank has on-boarded over 1 lakh customers and over 1.7 lakh merchants on the CBDC pilot programme. “Our digital banking solutions are one of the best and most secure in the country. CBDC is a forward-looking initiative and its QR interoperability with the already accepted and widely popular UPI is going to prove greatly beneficial to its usage,” said Parag Rao, country head – Payments, consumer finance, technology and digital banking, HDFC Bank.

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