Bharti Airtel Limited has announced that its subsidiary Airtel M Commerce Services Limited (AMSL) is seeking to convert its existing Prepaid Payment Instrument license into a Payments Bank license to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India.
It also announced that subject to grant of a Payments Bank license to AMSL by the RBI and all regulatory approvals, Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (Kotak) will acquire 19.90% stake in AMSL as an investor.
AMSL offers mobile money services under the brand name “Airtel Money”. Airtel has over 215 million subscribers and with 31% revenue market share. Airtel’s distribution network reaches over 1.4 million retail points across India.
Paytm too is in the race to apply for a payment bank license.
Keynotes from RBI’s payment bank guidelines
- Existing non-bank Pre-paid Payment Instrument (PPI) issuers; and other entities such as individuals / professionals; Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs), corporate Business Correspondents(BCs), mobile telephone companies, super-market chains, companies, real sector cooperatives; that are owned and controlled by residents; and public sector entities may apply to set up payments banks.
- A promoter/promoter group can have a joint venture with an existing scheduled commercial bank to set up a payments bank. However, scheduled commercial bank can take equity stake in a payments bank to the extent permitted under Section 19 (2) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
- Promoter/promoter groups should be ‘fit and proper’ with a sound track record of professional experience or running their businesses for at least a period of five years in order to be eligible to promote payments banks.