Airtel Payments Bank has helped 200 villages in India to go digital, according to a release by Airtel. These 200 villages now get access to basic banking services and options to do digital transactions, making them less reliant on cash. Airtel will continue to expand its Payment Bank services to 5000 villages soon. The service provider has not announced any timeframe to achieve the same.
“We are fully committed to the Government’s vision of financial inclusion and banking for all. With this initiative, we are taking banking services to the unbanked and also enabling them to be less reliant on cash. This initiative further demonstrates the reach and effectiveness of our retail-based model that allows us to take our banking services closer to every Indian in a quick and efficient manner,” Shashi Arora, MD & CEO – Airtel Payments Bank said.
Airtel Payments Bank has committed an investment of Rs. 3000 crore for national operations. It plans to associate with over 5 million merchants. Over one million merchants are already registered with the service, according to Airtel.
In the statement released, Airtel counted the benefits Airtel Payment Bank brought to subscribers. The service enabled the opening of at least one Airtel Bank outlet in every village with no formal banking access. The majority of the households in these villages now have at least one savings bank account and they can do transactions even via feature phones. They no longer have to travel long distance for banking services.
Besides, the villagers get interest for the savings they make at Airtel Bank. They can get money transferred to/from their kith and kin living in the towns/cities.
Moreover, the merchants in these villages are accepting digital payments via mobile phones from Airtel Payments Bank customers. Also, the customers are provided with training to accept digital payments for their products/services.
Airtel Bank is not charging any processing fee from its merchants and customers. It currently has a network of over 250,000 Airtel retail stores that function as banking points. This is more than the total number of ATMs in the country, claimed Airtel.
Airtel Payments Bank’s services can be accessed by customers on their feature phones as well through USSD by dialing *400#; or via a simple IVR.