Digital rupee gets big usability boost through Yes Bank integration with UPI

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) central bank digital currency, the digital rupee, will have enhanced usability, Yes Bank announced Aug. 30. This was thanks to Yes Bank’s integration of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) with the RBI digital rupee app. Now, Yes Bank account holders will be able to make transactions with the digital rupee by scanning UPI QR codes.

The UPI is a national payment portal operated by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), a division of the RBI. The NPCI provides the infrastructure for both the UPI and the digital rupee. The UPI is used by 150 million merchants in India, according to local press reports.

The Yes Bank app marks the first integration of the UPI with the central bank digital currency (CBDC). Yes Bank executive Ajay Rajan said in a statement:

“The transition to an interoperable CBDC platform holds the promise of seamless, efficient, and broader transactional capabilities for YES BANK customers. […] This transformational enabler will facilitate a quantum leap in CBDC usage, driven by the enhanced convenience and accessibility.”

Yes Bank was one of the eight original participating banks in the retail digital rupee pilot project, which launched in December. The project enlisted 5,000 participating merchants and 50,000 CBDC users and had carried out 800,000 transactions worth $134 million by February. A separate wholesale digital rupee pilot was launched in November.

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The digital rupee is already accepted at some of the stores in the country’s large Reliance Retail chain through a program using QR codes that began in February in conjunction with ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Innoviti Technologies.

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