Bharti Airtel launched its payments bank across India with the promise of a $440 million investment in the country’s underlying infrastructure.
The news follows the completion of its pilot scheme, first rolled-out in Rajasthan, which attracted over a million customers since November.
To support the nationwide launch, the company will use its 250,000-strong community of Airtel retail agents as banking points and invest heavily in the country’s digital payment infrastructure.
In a statement Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Airtel’s parent company Bharti Enterprises, said: “We are fully committed to the Honerable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s call to build a Digital India and lay a strong foundation for India’s transition to a cashless economy.
“Airtel Payments Bank will invest towards building a vast digital payments ecosystem with millions of merchants, and allow customers to make convenient cashless payments for good and services with their mobile phones.”
Airtel was one of a number of companies granted permission to launch a payments bank as part of ongoing efforts by Indian authorities to create a “less cash” economy. Rivals readying alternative services include fellow mobile operators Vodafone and Idea Cellular, in addition to specialist mobile payments provider Paytm.
Company’s operating in India’s traditional banking sector, and other industries, have also secured licences to launch mobile-led payment bank services.