Airtel Payments Bank launches in India
Airtel Payments Bank, India’s “first” payments bank, has started national operations with services now live across the country.
As Banking Technology reported in July 2016, telecoms giant Airtel was planning its own bank. It says it is a “fully digital and paperless” bank, and from today (12 January), over 250,000 neighbourhood Airtel retail stores across the country will also function as banking points. Customers will be able to open savings accounts, deposit and withdraw cash across any of these banking points.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman, Bharti Enterprises (Airtel is part of this group), says: “Just like mobile telephony leapfrogged traditional telecom networks to take affordable telecom services deep into the country, Airtel Payments Bank aims to take digital banking services to the unbanked over their mobile phones in a quick and efficient manner.”
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”.
Airtel Payments Bank also rolled out its app for Android and iOS. The app can be accessed through MyAirtel app. Customers need to install MyAirtel app on their smartphone for access. In addition, customers can also get access to a MasterCard-powered online card, which can be used to make payments across all online merchants accepting MasterCard.
The plan is to develop a nationwide merchant ecosystem of over five million partners including small “kirana” stores (small neighbourhood retail stores), grocers, pharmacies, restaurants etc.
Airtel says it will use its base of over 260 million customers and “educate them on the benefits of digital payments, with special emphasis on customers with basic/feature mobile phones to make them use their phones to make US dollar based payments”.