Airtel Payments Bank, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, today rolled out a pilot of its banking services in Rajasthan, becoming 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 Airtel retail outlets, which will also act as Airtel banking points and offer a range of basic, convenient banking services,” a company release said.

b’Source: PTI’

Here’s all you need to know:

  • The launch comes at a time when the government is making a determined push for a less-cash economy through demonetisation of high-value currencies.
  • Airtel Bank will commence the pilot with banking points at 10,000 Airtel retail outlets. The pilot is aimed at testing systems and processes ahead of a full-scale pan-India launch.
  • A wide network of merchants (sellers/shops) across Rajasthan will accept digital payments from Airtel Bank from day one, offering customers the convenience of 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 1,00,000 by the end of the year, giving a boost to digital payments ecosystem.
  • Airtel Banking points will offer bank account opening services and cash deposit and withdrawal facilities. Account opening will be quick and paperless using Aadhaar based e-KYC.
b’Source: Reuters’
  • Customer’s Airtel mobile number will be his/her bank account number. The interest rate of 7.25 per cent per annum (will apply) on deposits in savings accounts.
  • It will allow money transfer to any bank account in India and free money transfer from Airtel to Airtel numbers within Airtel Bank. It is also offering personal accidental insurance of Rs 1 lakh with every savings account.

Commenting on the project, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said, “This initiative, perfectly in sync with Prime Minister’s vision for financial inclusion and Digital India, will be a boon for residents in far-flung areas who are yet to have access to formal banking.”

In April 2016, Airtel Bank became the first entity in India to receive a payments bank licence from the Reserve Bank of India. The payments bank plans to leverage Bharti Airtel’s extensive national distribution network of over 1.5 million retail outlets, with penetration in rural areas.

Shashi Arora, MD and CEO of Airtel Payments Bank, said, “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.”