Canara Bank Rolls Out CBDC App Interoperable With UPI, Users Highlight Issues


India’s Canara Bank has launched a new mobile app focussed on taking India’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) trials to the next crucial stage that will lead to mass adoption. Called the Canara Digital Rupee, this app will allow select bank customers to pay for daily utilities via the eRupee CBDC. The app will be interoperable with UPI, letting testers scan existing UPI QR codes to process their CBDC payments as part of the CBDC pilot being overseen by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The launch of the app this week makes Canara Bank the first mainstream Indian lender to have created a special platform to initiate CBDC payments.

The bank, founded in 1906, which is now dabbling with India’s Web3 space, posted an official update on X, announcing the new platform along with a quote from the bank’s CEO.

“A revolutionary step towards digitalising the Indian economy, the UPI interoperable digital rupee app will enable customers to enjoy the benefits of fast and secure transactions using digital currency,” said K. Satyanarayana Raju, MD and CEO of Canara Bank.

The app is available for download on Google Play Store as well as Apple’s App Store, however, only customers who receive an official invite to be part of this trial will get to use the eRupee CBDC for now.

“Canara digital Rupee app facilitates secure, fast digital currency transaction using Digital Rupee wallets. This Digital Rupee wallet will be like your physical wallet but in digital form,” the app’s description on Play Store says.

On Play Store, the Canara Digital Rupee app has managed to garner 3.5 stars out of five from 760 ratingd so far. On App Store, the app has bagged a rating of four out of five, based on the 44 ratings it garnered.

The reviews section for the app on both Android as well as iOS reflected certain grievances and suggestions from people who tried out the app.

From app installation being slow to the loading of the eRupee being sluggish — app testers have highlighted some key points for Canara bank to work on. This includes the apparent issue of transaction history not being available if the app is uninstalled.

Testers of the app have further requested Canara bank to polish the app’s interface and provide detailed explanation on how eRupee can benefit first time users of the platform.

The app has received feedback on X (formerly Twitter) as well.

At present, multiple large state-owned and private lenders, including State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Yes Bank are participating with the RBI in the ongoing CBDC trials. Select small, medium, and big level merchants including Reliance retail stores are also helping the RBI test how smooth CBDC transactions could be in a real-life retail setting.

The pilot for the retail digital rupee was launched in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar on December 1, 2022.

It was only in July this year, that the RBI first hinted that eRupee’s integration with existing UPI QR codes was on the cards.

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