Airtel Payments Bank, a fully digital bank and a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, has rolled out a pilot banking service in Rajasthan, with the goal of testing systems and processes ahead of a full scale pan-Indian launch.
Airtel says the pilot launch makes Airtel Bank the first payments bank in the country to go live. Customers in towns and villages across Rajasthan will now be able to open bank accounts at 10,000 Airtel retail outlets, which will also act as Airtel banking points and offer a range of basic, convenient banking services.
A wide network of merchants across Rajasthan will accept digital payments from Airtel Bank from Day 1, offering customers cashless purchase of goods and services via their mobile phones in a quick and secure manner. Airtel Bank plans to expand its merchant network in Rajasthan to 100,000 by the end of the year, giving a big boost to India’s digital payments ecosystem.
Airtel banking points will offer bank account opening services and cash deposit /withdrawal facilities. Accounts can be opened quickly using Aadhaar based e-KYC, which requires no documents at all, only the customer’s Aadhaar number. The customer’s Airtel mobile number will double as his/her bank account number.
Airtel Bank offers an interest rate of 7.25 % p.a. on deposits in savings accounts. It also offers money transfer services to any bank account in India (with no fee for Airtel to Airtel transfers). Savings account customers can also buy personal accidental insurance.
Airtel Bank’s services can be accessed by Airtel customers on their mobile phones through the Airtel Money app, USSD or IVR. Customers can also visit any designated Airtel retail outlet to access services (not just the outlet where they have opened the account).
Shashi Arora, MD & CEO of Airtel Payments Bank, said the bank is fully committed to the Indian Government’s financial inclusion and Digital India initiatives.
“With this pilot, we have taken a big step towards the launch of our banking services and will be testing our operational readiness for full-scale launch across India,” he said. “We would also like to use feedback from our customers to further improve our processes and look forward to serving them.”
Airtel Bank became the first entity in India to receive a payments bank license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in April this year. It plans to leverage Bharti Airtel’s national distribution network of over 1.5 million retail outlets, with deep penetration in rural areas.
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