India-based messaging platform Hike partnered Airtel Payments Bank to strengthen its efforts to become a leading player in the country’s burgeoning digital payment ecosystem.

Under the agreement, Airtel Payments Bank will expand the services available on Hike’s digital wallet to include those currently offered by the digital bank, including savings accounts and bill payments.

Airtel Payments Bank is also compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC) rules – which require the collection of detailed customer data to a similar level as traditional banking services.

Although mobile wallet providers are currently able to provide services after collecting minimal customer information, regulations set to be brought in by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will severely limit providers not following KYC rules. By partnering with Airtel, Hike said it will be able to comply with the new regulation.

Strong base
Hike’s chat application is used by more than 100 million people and it launched an associated mobile wallet in July. The company said usage of its wallet is growing 30 per cent month-on-month with the final tally for November tipped to exceed 5 million transactions.

Airtel Payment Bank was the first of the new generation of digital finance providers licensed in India to provide mobile-first services, including savings accounts. The company completed a two month pilot in January and went nationwide in the same month.

Hike VP product, Pathik Shah, said: “This is a great move for our users and it will ensure that they have an uninterrupted service when the new [RBI] guidelines kick in. We’re excited and we look forward to working with Airtel on supporting this effort to bring more Indians online and enable easy transactional services for them.”

Airtel Payments Bank COO Ganesh Ananthanarayanan added: “We are delighted to partner with Hike to build a world-class digital payments ecosystem by leveraging our vast reach and digital banking infrastructure. The addition of Hike Wallets to our portfolio will position us as one of the largest digital payments platforms in India.”