Airtel Payments Bank is now live and operational across all 29 states in India. India’s Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley launched the service today at an event in New Delhi. Further, Bharti Enterprises Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal was also present at the the launch event along with Uday Kotak (Executive Vice Chairman & MD, Kotak Mahindra Bank), Gopal Vittal (MD & CEO of Bharti Airtel – India and South Asia) and Shashi Arora (MD & CEO of Airtel Payments Bank).
If you are not aware, a Digital Payments Bank service provides complete digital and paperless banking services such as opening account, cash deposit, withdrawal etc. One can easily open an account with Airtel Payments Bank via Aadhaar based e-KYC process and verify his credentials through biometric inputs or Iris scanner.
Airtel claims that the company aims to take basic banking services to the doorstep of every Indian by leveraging Airtel’s vast retail network. After the nationwide launch, about 250,000 Airtel retail stores spread across the 29 states will now function as banking points. Interestingly, this number exceeds the number of ATMs in the country. Further, in order to encourage cashless payments, Airtel will not charge any processing fee for any kind of digital transactions, be it from its customers or from its merchant partners.
To add to this, Airtel has also rolled out the Payments Bank app for Android and iOS. To access the Airtel Payments Bank app, one needs to download and install MyAirtel app. For online transactions, Airtel will also provide with an online card powered by MasterCard.
Airtel has also claimed it is already working on developing nationwide merchant ecosystem of over five million partners including small Kirana stores, grocers, pharmacies, restaurants, etc. These merchant partners will accept digital payments from Airtel Payments Bank customers over mobile phones. Airtel Payments Bank has launched a Merchant App for digital onboarding of partners. If you want to become the merchant partner, you can download the app from Google PlayStore and start accepting digital payments right away.
Putting an adequate amount of emphasis on the customers using basic or feature phones, Airtel will also put its efforts to educate these customers about USSD based payments. For easy usage, USSD and IVR bank services will be available in 12-languages
Talking about the benefits of this new Payments Bank service, one will get an interest rate of 7.25 % on deposits in savings accounts. For comparison, banks such as Axis, ICICI, and HDFC offer 4 percent interest, while Yes Bank and Kotak offer 6 percent. Further, your Airtel mobile number will your bank account number and one can easily transfer funds to any bank account in India for free. Every subscriber to a Saving Account with Airtel Payments Bank also gets a free personal accidental insurance of Rs 1 Lac. On top of this, one would also get free Talktime for the amount deposited in his or her Airtel’s Bank account. In other words, every rupee you deposit into your Airtel Bank account will fetch you a rupee talk-time free.