Reliance Jio launched its payment bank service, pitching it head-to-head with rivals Bharti Airtel and Aditya Birla, parent of Idea Cellular, which both already offer such services across India.
In August 2015 Reliance Jio affiliate Reliance Industries was one of 11 companies to be granted a provisional licence by Reserve Bank of India to operate a payments bank – an initiative promoted by authorities to boost banking uptake among underserved and unbanked communities.
Licences allow the provision of saving accounts, but companies are prohibited from offering “high risk” financial services.
Bharti Airtel became the first company to launch a payments bank nationwide in January 2017, following a two-month pilot. Mobile wallet provider Paytm followed suit four months later, with Aditya Birla and state-owned mail service India Post both unveiling services in February 2018.
Both Paytm and Bharti Airtel reported strong initial uptake among communities in rural parts of India.