India’s Airtel M Commerce Services, a subsidiary of India’s largest operator, has rebranded to Airtel Payments Bank and plans to launch in the second quarter of the current financial year, while rival Idea Cellular updated on its own money strategy.
“The new identity reflects our strong focus on the payments bank segment… With Airtel’s deep distribution network, we believe that Airtel Payments Bank is uniquely placed to deliver quality banking services to customers by leveraging the power of mobile telephony,” said Gopal Vittal (pictured), MD and CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel.
The company said it plans a mobile banking debut in the second quarter of fiscal 2016-17, equivalent to July-September 2016.
Last month Airtel M Commerce Services Limited (AMSL) became the first company in India to receive a full payments bank licence that enables it to pursue the untapped market among the country’s millions of unbanked users.
Payments banks are allowed to take deposits and transfer payments for users but they cannot lend funds. Nevertheless, the likes of AMSL hope they will appeal to the target market of small businesses, low income households, farmers and migrant workers.
Meanwhile, rival Idea Cellular talked up its own launch strategy during last week’s financial results. It has created a new company called Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank to launch its banking service. It announced that another unit called Idea Mobile Commerce Services is to be amalgamated into the new company.
Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank is in the process of appointing key management personnel, choosing IT system and defining products and processes. Its aim is to launch commercial service before the end of the 2016-17 financial year.
Aditya Birla Nuvo, parent of Idea Cellular, was awarded a payments bank licence in principle last year, but the new unit is seeking the full licence from the Reserve Bank of India.