Bharti Airtel, Kotak joint venture gets payment bank licence

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) The apex bank, Reserve Bank of India, on Monday granted payments bank licence to telecom service provider Bharti Airtel, for which it had applied in partnership with Kotak Mahindra Bank, a company statement said here.

“We are pleased to inform you that Airtel M Commerce Services Limited (AMSL), a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel Limited, has been granted payments bank licence from Reserve Bank of India on April 11, 2016,” the statement said.

Bharti Airtel and Kotak Mahindra had applied for the payment bank licence through AMSL, which launched Airtel Money in 2011.

Airtel Money was the first mobile based pre-paid payment instrument service in the country and it empowers millions across India to leverage their mobile phones as a secure way for making payments and transferring money.

Kotak had picked up 19.9 percent stake in Airtel M Commerce, for Rs.98.4 crore in February.

The payment banks will cater to the needs of small savings accounts, remittance services, low income households, small businesses and other unorganised sector entities.

The Reseve Bank of India (RBI) on August 19, 2015, granted ‘in principle’ approval to 11 applicants, including Reliance Industries, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Department of Posts, and Cholamandalam Distribtuion Services, to set up payment banks.

The others who got the approval are Airtel M Commerce Services Limited, Fino PayTech Limited, National Securities Depository Limited, Dilip Shantilal Shanghvi, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Tech Mahindra Limited and Vodafone m-pesa Limited.

According to the RBI, the in-principle approval will be valid for 18 months, during which the applicants have to comply with guidelines and fulfil other conditions as may be stipulated by it.

Until regular licences are issued, the applicants cannot undertake any banking business, it added.

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