Bharti Airtel Limited has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Airtel M Commerce Services Limited (AMSL) is seeking to convert its existing Prepaid Payment Instrument license into a Payments Bank license to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India. It also announced that subject to grant of a Payments Bank license to AMSL by the RBI and all regulatory approvals, Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (Kotak) will acquire 19.90% stake in AMSL as an investor.
AMSL offers mobile money services under the brand name “Airtel Money”.
Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel said,“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”.
On the tie-up with Kotak, Vittal 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% 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.
Airtel Money, launched in 2011 was the first mobile based pre-paid payment instrument service in the country and today empowers millions across India to leverage their mobile phones as a secure way for making payments and transferring money.