Airtel Payments Bank to start services between July and September

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Mumbai: Airtel Payments Bank will start services in the second quarter of the current fiscal year, parent Bharti Airtel Ltd said. Kotak Mahindra Bank holds 19.9% in the payments bank, which is currently called Airtel M-Commerce Services Ltd.

Airtel M-Commerce Services is one of the 10 payments bank licencees due to launch services by early next year. In August 2015, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had granted an in-principle nod to 11 entities to offer payment banking services.

Apart from Airtel, Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd, Cholamandalam Distribution Services Ltd, Department of Posts, FINO PayTech Ltd, National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL), Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Tech Mahindra Ltd, Vodafone m-pesa Ltd (a unit of telco Vodafone India Ltd), Dilip Shantilal Shanghvi (founder of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd) and Vijay Shekhar Sharma (CEO of One97 Communications that runs Paytm) were also granted licences. Cholamandalam, however, has withdrawn its application.

Announcing the launch plans and the new brand identity of Airtel Payments Bank, Gopal Vittal, managing director and chief executive (India and South Asia) for Bharti Airtel said, “The new identity reflects our strong focus on the payments bank segment and our commitment to the Government’s vision of financial inclusion and banking services for every citizen..”

“With Airtel’s deep distribution network that touches every corner of the country, we believe that Airtel Payments Bank is uniquely placed to deliver quality banking services to customers by leveraging the power of mobile telephony,” he added.

Airtel M-Commerce Services currently provides money transfer services and semi-closed wallet services across more than 800 towns in India, the company said, while adding that it plans to leverage Bharti Airtel’s national distribution network to deliver banking services to the last mile.