Infibeam Avenues Looks At Retail CBDC Operations

If the RBI approves, Infibeam would be one of the first few non-bank players to participate in the retail CBDC ecosystem.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Representation of e-rupee (Source: BQ Prime)</p></div>
Representation of e-rupee (Source: BQ Prime)

Payments gateway Infibeam Avenues Ltd. is looking to start accepting the retail central bank digital currency soon as it awaits nod from the Reserve Bank of India.

"We are in the final process on the CBDC retail launch. We are just waiting for the RBI to give the final go ahead," Vishwas Patel, executive director at Infibeam, told BQ Prime in an interview. "We are ready, or you can say almost ready, and in the process right now to make it live. So we are excited."

India's retail CBDC, or e-rupee, is the digital form of currency notes issued by the regulator. The e-rupee has been granted legal tender status.

If the central bank approves the licence, Infibeam Avenues would be one of the first few non-bank players to participate in the retail CBDC ecosystem. The RBI launched a pilot programme for the e-rupee on Dec. 1, where it is testing peer-to-peer and merchant payments.

The first phase of the pilot programme focused on four cities of Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar. It will later be expanded to other cities.

The pilot began with four banks: the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, and IDFC First Bank, according to the central bank.

"There will be many use cases that will come. It (retail CBDC) will primarily be attacking the Rs 31 lakh crore cash that is circulating in the economy," Patel said. "The ease which the RBI has planned for moving the digital currency in your bank account and the ease for moving normal rupee to e-rupee and the e-rupee to normal rupee is convenient and well thought of."

On Monday, Infibeam Avenues announced that it had received a perpetual licence from the RBI to operate its bill payments business. That will help the company to offer services to its over 18,000 billers, agent institutions and its network of one million agents spread across 2,000 cities and towns of India. It will also help expand into the hinterlands of India, the company said.

Watch the full interview here:

India's Retail CBDC Pilot To Start In Four Cities On Dec. 1