Airtel Payments Bank, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel Limited, today said that it has rolled out a pilot of its banking services in Rajasthan. The pilot is aimed at testing systems and processes ahead of a full scale pan Indian launch.
With this, Airtel Bank has become the first payments bank in the country to go live.
Payments banks are similar to regular banks, except that they are to be used for making transactions only and not for giving loans etc..
The customer’s Airtel mobile number will be his or her bank account number. Airtel will offer interest rate of 7.25 % p.a. on deposits in savings accounts, which is nearly double of what most other banks give in India.
It will enable money transfer to any bank account in India, including free money transfer from Airtel to Airtel numbers within Airtel Bank.
The account will also come with a free personal Accidental Insurance of Rs. 1 Lac.
The service can be accessed by Airtel customers on their mobile phones through the Airtel Money app, through USSD by dialing *400#; or via a simple IVR by dialing 400.
Both the USSD & IVR options are available in Hindi and English language and work on simple feature phones as well. Users can also log in by dialling 8800688006.
In addition, they can visit any of the company’s retail outlet to access services (and not just the outlet where they have opened the account).
“Customers in towns and villages across Rajasthan will now be able to open bank accounts at Airtel retail outlets, which will also act as banking points and offer a range of basic, convenient banking services,” the company said.
The venture will commence the pilot with banking points at 10,000 retail outlets. It plans to expand its merchant network in Rajasthan to 100,000 by the end of the year, giving a big boost to digital payments ecosystem.
At these points, you will get account opening services and cash deposit & withdrawal facilities.
A wide network of merchants across Rajasthan will accept digital payments from the bank from day one, it added. At these places, you can pay money using your app or USSD.
Another advantage is that signing up for one will require on the Aadhaar number and on other papers.
On April 11, 2016, Airtel Bank became the first entity in India to receive a payments bank license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The company plans to leverage Bharti Airtel’s extensive national distribution network of over 1.5 million retail outlets, with deep penetration in rural areas.
WHAT ARE PAYMENTS BANKS
Payment banks can keep only a maximum balance of Rs. 100,000 per individual customer. They cannot issue loans or credit cards.
However, they can issue ATM and debit cards.
They can also distribute simple financial products like mutual fund units and insurance products, etc.
Airtel Bank’s product portfolio includes payment banking services and semi-closed mobile wallet services (Airtel Money).
Anyone (non-Airtel customers also) with an Aadhaar card can open a Savings Account with Airtel Bank.
A Customer can open an account by visiting a designated Airtel retail outlet in his/her neighbourhood. No documents are required. Only the customer’s Aadhaar number is needed for opening an account. The account will be opened through a paperless process within minutes through Aadhaar based e-KYC authentication.
Airtel Bank does not offer ATM/Debit Card facility in the beginning.
Customers can deposit withdraw cash at any of the designated Airtel retail outlets, which will also function as Airtel banking points.
Customers can check their account balance, access other services using Airtel Money app, USSD or IVR over their mobile phones
Customers can access money transfer services using the the Airtel Money app or through USSD by dialing *400#. Money transfers from one Airtel number to another Airtel number within the bank will be free.