Airtel Bank or Airtel Payments Bank Limited a part of Bharti Airtel Limited in a press release announced that it will take initiatives to drive the adoption of digital payments in India. In the aftermath of the demonetisation move by PM Narendra Modi-led government, the company said that it is planning to contribute to the flagship campaign Digital India and ensure that there is an accelerated transition to a cashless economy. Shashi Arora, MD & CEO of Airtel Payments Bank said, “We are fully committed to the Government’s vision of Digital India and financial inclusion. We are a fully digital bank and believe that these initiatives will add to the Government’s efforts to fast track India’s journey towards becoming a cashless economy.”
According to the press release, the initiatives by Airtel Payments Bank will be rolled out all over India from January 2017 and also said that the consumers will be rewarded for making digital payments a habit. With 260 million plus consumers, Airtel said that it will educate people on benefits of digital payments, in particular, USSD based transactions using feature phones. It will encourage and incentivise people to open savings accounts with Airtel Payments Bank. It is planning to develop an ecosystem of over 3 million merchants, including Kirana stores and small shops, that will accept digital payments over mobile devices. The reward for users for making digital payments will be ‘Free 100 minutes of Airtel mobile talk time’ to 1 lakh customers. There will be surprise gifts to customers who use digital/cashless mode of payment too.
Airtel said that the bank will not charge any processing fee for its customers and merchants who use digital transactions, a move which the company believes will raise the adoption rate. The registration process will also not involve any paperwork. The company said that ‘a minimal cash withdrawal fee (~0.65% per transaction) will be levied, thereby, encouraging customers to prefer digital payments for transactions’.
Airtel Bank announced its pilot banking services program on November 23 in Rajasthan, as a project aimed at testing systems and processes before its full scale all India launch. Anyone with an Aadhaar card can open a Savings Account with Airtel Bank, irrespective of being an Airtel or non-Airtel customer. Any customer can open an account by visiting a designated Airtel retail outlet in his/her neighbourhood. Other documents are not required except the customer’s Aadhaar number in order to open an account. The account will be opened through a paperless process within minutes through Aadhaar based e-KYC authentication.