Aircel plans to approach RBI for Payments Bank licence

Telecom giant Aircel plans to approach the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a payment bank licence, post completing its merger with Reliance Communications’ wireless business.

“We intend to approach RBI once this current thing (merger) is over. We do aspire to become a bank,”  said LV Sastry, business head for Aircel’s mobile banking and commerce business.

“We’re trying to understand the value we can bring to our customers with this licence,” he added.

“The company also proposes to convert all its post-merger data customers into users of its mobile wallet over the next two to three years,” said Sastry.

Aircel, owned by Malaysia’s Maxis Group, operates its mobile wallet through subsidiary Aircel Smart Money, which will be integrated with the Unified Payments Interface within a few weeks, enabling payments to be made directly from a customer’s bank account.

“There is a push to convert voice users to data users within the company and once that happens, that’s my target audience and I believe we will be able to get 100 per cent of that population in the next 2-3 years,” he explained.

“We will introduce UPI integration in the next few weeks,” he added.

At the same time, the company is strengthening its presence in local markets by getting dairies, newspaper vendors, community kirana stores and cable and internet operators to use its wallet to receive payments from customers.

“For this, we have built various tools which make onboarding instant, easy and secure such as Aadhaar-based registration, online digital signature for agreements, online KYC validation and dynamic QR codes for payments enabling both ‘pull’ and ‘push’ payments,” Sastry said.

Aircel is also approaching institutions such as local schools and colleges to make transactions through its wallet.


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