Credit and finance for MSMEs: Digital payments and software company Infibeam Avenues’ payment gateway brand CCAvenue on Monday announced that it has become India’s first payment gateway to process the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or digital rupee transactions for online retail merchants. “It is an industry first where CCAvenue, has facilitated CBDC online transactions for one of India’s leading private sector banks, by processing their CBDC transaction, with an aim to strengthen India’s digital payments ecosystem further,” the company said.
“It is the IDFC First Bank with which Infibeam has rolled out retail CBDC on its platform. As the digital rupee adoption grows, much like UPI, the company’s merchant base is likely to expand,” a source aware of the development told FE Aspire on anonymity.
Also read: Retail digital rupee: Merchants to receive payments via their QR codes, says RBI
Infibeam Avenues declined to comment on their banking partner for retail CBDC. The company has over 7.3 million merchants and nearly 15,000 point-of-sale terminals. Infibeam Avenues adds an average of 8,000 merchants per day.
For the uninitiated, the central bank had launched the first pilot of the digital rupee for the retail segment — comprising customers and merchants – on December 1, 2022, to enable payments to merchants using QR codes displayed at merchant locations. The retail digital rupee is a digital token to be issued in the same denominations of paper currency and coins and distributed through banks.
“We are working with many banks to offer them our world-class payment infrastructure & technology for providing a safe and secure payment environment along with a rich merchant experience. And we are now going to process CBDC transactions for online retail payments. We are ready to share our technology with more banking partners to roll-out CBDC aggressively. We have the necessary processes and compliance in place to quickly onboard and instantly activate new merchants,” said Vishal Mehta, Managing Director, Infibeam Avenues in a statement.
Also read: UPI: P2M transactions cross 400-crore mark in December
According to the RBI, the retail CBDC pilot will have “phase-wise participation” of eight identified banks, beginning with State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and IDFC First Bank in the first phase in four cities Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar followed by Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank joining the pilot. It will expand to other cities viz., Ahmedabad, Gangtok, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kochi, Lucknow, Patna and Shimla. Based on the requirement, more banks, users and locations would be added to the pilot.
“CBDC is a robust, efficient, trusted and legal tender-based real-time payment option. This will be our first step in harnessing RBI’s most flexible and convenient payment method to generate exponential revenue opportunities for merchants,” said Vishwas Patel, Executive Director, Infibeam Avenues.
The company had recently received the Payment Aggregator license from the RBI, followed by a perpetual license to operate as Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU) under the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) from RBI.
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