Airtel Payments Bank on Thursday announced that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given the requisite approvals to it for starting customer acquisition as well as to resume customer verification using the Aadhaar-based e-KYC system. “Airtel Payments Bank has received requisite approvals from RBI to start on-boarding new customers. Airtel Payments Bank has also been permitted by UIDAI to resume on-boarding of customers using Aadhaar-based e-KYC. “We thank the authorities for the approvals. We remain committed to
the government’s vision of financial inclusion and banking for all,” the Bharti Airtel subsidiary said in a statement.
In December last year, UIDAI suspended e-KYC licences of Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank following charges that the Aadhaar eKYC-based SIM verification process was used to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their consent. Following this, UIDAI requested RBI and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to conduct an audit of Bharti’s systems, processes, applications, documentations, etc to ensure that it is in compliance with licence conditions. Auditor PwC as Governance Risk Compliance and Performance Service Provider (GRCP-SP) of UIDAI was also roped in for the audit.
In the meantime, Bharti was given a conditional approval by UIDAI for doing Aadhaar-based e-KYC verification of mobile subscribers up to January 10. However, the payments bank licence key remained deactivated until the audit results came. Sources said the licence of Bharti was re-activated only after the payment bank repaid all the DBT subsidy amounting to around Rs 191 crore along with interest of 7.25% per annum to the customers’ original bank accounts linked and also deposited an interim penalty of Rs 2.54 crore with UIDAI.