Airtel finds payment bank partner

Dylan Bushell-Embling
02 Feb 2015

India's Bharti Airtel has lined up a prospective partner for a payments bank venture. The operator has submitted a joint application with Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Airtel subsidiary Airtel M Commerce Services (ASML) aims to convert its existing pre-paid payment license into a payment banking license, the Economic Timesreported.

The proposed alliance will see Kotak Mahindra acquire a 19.9% stake in ASML, pending regulatory approval.

Airtel launched India's first mobile pre-paid payment service in 2011. The company has an extensive potential customer base, as it is India's largest mobile operator with around 215 million subscribers.

In November, the Indian government revealed plans for a reform of the nation's banking sector.

This involves allocating licenses for payment banks, which will be able to accept demand deposits of up to 100,000 rupees ($1610) and offer payment and remittance services, but not to offer credit facilities directly.

Both Telenor and Vodafone are reportedly also seeking domestic partners to take a stake in a payment banking venture.

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