Payments Bank is a very new phenomenon in India – but that has not stopped hoards of Indians to open their bank accounts, even though we only have one operator running a pilot in just one state.
Two weeks back, Airtel Payments bank started their pilot in the state of Rajasthan and as per their press release they have already garnered over 1 lakh Payments bank accounts. Interestingly, more than 70 percent of these bank accounts were opened in rural areas highlighting the fact that such banking services have big scope in unbanked hinterland of India.
Shashi Arora, MD & CEO, Airtel Payments Bank said, “The customer response has been extremely positive and validates our retail based model that will also allow us to take our banking services closer to the customer. We have been able to deliver a smooth digital banking experience to customers and our systems have worked flawlessly to manage the quick scale up. We are also getting a good response from merchants and have further accelerated their onboarding.”
How Did Airtel Payments Bank Garner 1 Lakh+ accounts in 2 Weeks
Obviously, the question in everyone’s mind would be – how did Airtel manage to garner such a number in such a short while. There are couple of reasons for that.
Firstly, Airtel had immediate network and reach. Over 100,000 Airtel Retail outlets could immediately become Banking outlets, which could sign-up customers. The reason for higher rural accounts opening was also due to the fact that 1/3rds of these Airtel retail outlets are located in rural areas.
Secondly, the incentives that Airtel is offering to their customers is very difficult to pass. Earlier this month, Airtel announced that their Payments bank customers will receive 1 minute of talktime for every rupee deposited in the bank account. That means, if a Airtel Bank’s new customer deposits Rs 2000 into his bank account, then Rs 2000 worth of talktime would be provided in that person’s Airtel phone.
With that kind of incentive on offer, hundreds and thousands of people would sign-up.
What really needs to be seen is – what happens after these incentives are stopped. Also, Airtel does not have any competition in this space yet. Once, others like Paytm, who have a Payments Bank license as well, come into picture, it will be difficult to garner subscribers at same pace.
Feature of Airtel Payments Bank
- Digital Banking: Quick and paperless account opening using Aadhaar based e-KYC. This requires no documents at all, only the customer’s Aadhaar number is needed
- One minute of Airtel mobile talk time for every Rupee deposited while opening an account
- Customer’s Airtel mobile number will be his/her bank account number
- Interest rate of 7.25 % p.a. on deposits in savings accounts, the highest in India
- Money transfer to any bank account in India (Free money transfer from Airtel to Airtel numbers within Airtel Payments Bank)
- Personal Accidental Insurance of Rs. 1 Lac with every Savings Account
- Easy deposit and withdrawal facility across a wide network of Airtel retail outlets