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Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance, 8 others get payment bank licences

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In a bid to widen the reach of banking services and push the government’s goal of financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India has awarded payment bank licences to Airtel M Commerce Services, Reliance Industries, Cholamandalam Distribution Services, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Department of Posts (DoP), Fino PayTech, National Securities Depository, Dilip Shantilal Shanghvi, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Tech Mahindra and Vodafone M-Pesa.

Once operational, these new category of banks would provide basic banking services like savings, deposits, payments and remittances even without access to the formal banking system.

The RBI awarded in-principle approval to 11 out of 41 entities that applied for payment bank licences. This approval will remain valid for 18 months, after which these entities will be handed over formal licences, subject to the condition that they meet the norms stipulated by the central bank.

“Going forward, the Reserve Bank intends to use the learning from this licensing round to appropriately revise the guidelines and move to giving licences more regularly, that is, virtually ‘on tap’. The Reserve Bank believes that some of the entities, who did not qualify in this round, could well be successful in future rounds,” the RBI said in a press statement.

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