Airtel to apply for Payment Bank licence

New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) Bharti Airtel Limited’s wholly owned subsidiary Airtel M Commerce Services Limited (AMSL) is seeking to convert its existing Prepaid Payment Instrument licence into a Payments Bank licence to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India, a company statement said Thursday.

AMSL, which offers mobile money services under the brand name Airtel Money, was launched in 2011.
It also announced that subject to grant of a Payments Bank licence to AMSL by the RBI and all regulatory approvals, Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited will acquire 19.90 percent stake in AMSL as an investor.
Payments bank licence is issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) – the apex bank of the country.
“We welcome the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) initiative on Payments Bank. The RBI’s vision for differentiated banks represents a significant step in furthering India’s financial inclusion agenda. The RBI guidelines provide an exciting and challenging opportunity for an entity like us to contribute in a meaningful manner to drive financial inclusion,” Gopal Vittal, managing director and chief executive officer (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel said.
Regarding the tie-up with Kotak, he added: “Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited is one of the leading and most respected private sector banks in India. Kotak’s banking expertise coupled with Airtel’s strength in telecom will help deliver financial services to millions of unbanked citizens across the country.”
Airtel is the largest mobile services provider in India with over 215 million subscribers and with 31 percent revenue market share. Airtel has deep and wide distribution reach especially in rural and remote parts of the country. Its distribution network reaches over 1.4 million retail points across India.