Bharti Airtel recently said that its online banking subsidiary, Airtel Payments Bank, could be a unicorn. For the unaware, unicorn is a term used for companies/startups whose valuation goes beyond a billion dollars. Airtel Payments Bank had turned profitable in 2021. For FY22, the company’s profits were Rs 9 crore, and the total revenues were up by 50% to Rs 941 crore. This should ideally place Airtel Payments Bank in an even better position in FY23 with a rising customer base of Airtel’s mobile business.
Anubrata Biswas, Airtel Payments Bank CEO, told TOI that the company could turn profitable because it had the ability to onboard many new customers at a relatively lower cost compared to what other banks spend. But Airtel Payments Bank is not just profitable because of its B2C business; the company also made revenues from its B2B services, customer subscriptions, interest spread, and fees on transactions.
Airtel Payments Bank Wants to Be Like This
Biswas said that the dream state for Airtel Payments Bank is to be in a position where it is one third a bank, one third a startup, and one third an FMCG distributor. According to Biswas, if Airtel Payments Bank acted completely as a bank, they would not have been able to scale up.
One of the biggest advantages for Airtel Payments Bank is the distribution it gets from Bharti Airtel’s mobile business. It also helped the business in establishing trust within the Indian community. The company has over five lakh banking points spread across the country. Airtel Payments Bank might get to see a tough competition when its arch-rival, Jio Payments Bank, launches in India.
For now, Airtel Payments Bank offers a suite of services to users. The company has also made the online banking experience safer for users by launching Airtel Safe Pay which is an extra layer of authentication to ensure that users are never duped of their money by frauds.