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Airtel to launch payment bank operations in Q2 FY17

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Airtel said that it will be commencing its payments bank operations by the second quarter of this financial year, the company said  in a notification to the BSE. Airtel also renamed its mobile commerce subsidiary Airtel M Commerce Service Limited (AMSL) to Airtel Payments Bank.

Last month Airtel Payments Bank received a payments bank license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Airtel Payments Bank, which operates Airtel Money, already has a prepaid payments instrument license from the RBI; Airtel applied for a payments bank license in January 2015, to convert the same into a payments bank license.

Airtel Money was launched in 2011 and allows customers to use their mobile phones as a secure way for making payments and transferring money. In India, Airtel Money posted a net profit of Rs 4.47 crore for the year ended March, 2015. The company had posted a loss of Rs 106.26 crore in the fiscal year ended March, 2014. Airtel Money hasn’t disclosed operational data for India for since March 2014.

In February, Kotak Mahindra Bank bought a 19.9% stake in Airtel’s mobile commerce subsidiary AMSL for Rs 98.38 crore. This came after RBI granted an “in-principle” approval to 11 applicants for a payments bank license in August 2015, which included Airtel and Vodafone. At the time of application for the payments bank license, Airtel Money said that it would form a joint venture with Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Redesigned platform: Late last month, Airtel announced the redesign of its online recharge and payments interface which would include its website and the MyAirtel app. The overhaul plans to integrate all mobile wallets and other digital payment modes on its website and Airtel app under a single interface.

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Offline stores: Airtel also revamped and rolled out Company Owned Company Operated (COCO) Airtel stores across the country as a one stop shop for all customer requirements. Till date close to 550 COCO stores in multiple formats have been opened across the country. These COCO stores are supplemented by over 2400 franchisee retail stores across India.

Other developments from Airtel Money

– In August 2015, Online cab aggregator Uber and telecom operator Bharti Airtel entered into a strategic partnership to allow Mumbai’s Uber riders to pay with Airtel Money, Airtel’s mobile wallet, in their cab rides in India.

– In the same month, Bharti Airtel acquired a Mumbai-based mobile payment startup YTS for an undisclosed amount. The company said at that time that Airtel Mcommerce Services Limited (AMSL) would integrate the payments and remittance businesses of YTS Solutions.

– Airtel also, appointed Manish Khera as the CEO of AMSL after the acquisition of YTS in the same month.

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