Can Airtel Payments Bank Change the Rules of the Game?

by February 8, 2017 0 comments

Post demonetization, we are making strides toward becoming a cashless society. This has led to digital wallet firms witnessing an unprecedented rise in their usage and popularity.

Even Paytm has received final approval of the Reserve Bank to formally launch its payments bank and it expects to start operations next month. Payments banks can accept deposits from individuals and small businesses of up to Rs 1 lakh per account.

Airtel Payments Bank, a fully digital and paperless bank, aims to take basic banking services to the doorstep of every Indian by leveraging Airtel’s vast retail network. Recently, it opened over one lakh (100,000) savings accounts in Uttar Pradesh within the first two weeks of its launch. Approximately 60% of these accounts have been opened in rural areas, underlining the massive scope for serving customers, particularly in unbanked and underbanked pockets of the State.

What does it offer?

Airtel payments Bank’s services include quick and paperless account opening using Aadhaar based e-KYC. This requires no documents at all and only the customer’s Aadhaar number is needed. The customer’s mobile number will be his/her bank account number.

It is also providing one of the highest interest rates of 7.25 % p.a. on deposits in savings accounts. It will also provide one minute of Airtel mobile talk time for every Rupee deposited at the time of opening a savings account. The company has entered into a partnership with MasterCard for an online debit card that can be used to make payments across all online merchants like Flipkart, Amazon, and Uber etc.

Airtel Payments Bank currently has a network of over 250,000 neighborhood Airtel retail stores, which also function as banking points. This is more than the total number of ATMs in the country. The Bank aims to scale its network to 600,000 banking points.

It is also planning to develop a nationwide merchant ecosystem of over five million partners including small kirana stores, grocers, pharmacies, restaurants, etc. These merchant partners will accept digital payments from Airtel Payments Bank customers over mobile phones. Airtel Payments Bank has launched a Merchant App for digital onboarding of partners. Anyone looking to become a merchant partner can download this app from Google Play store for free and start accepting digital payments instantaneously.

Airtel Payments Bank will not charge any processing fee from its customers and merchants partners for digital transactions, thereby encouraging them to adopt cashless payments.

The company has committed an investment of Rs. 3000 crore across its national operations and plans to build a digital payments ecosystem with over 5 million merchants.

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