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Aircel is looking to get a payments bank licence: report

Telecom operator Aircel will be applying for a payments bank licence following its merger with Reliance Communications, the Economic Times reports. Aircel has a PPI licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and runs a wallet called Aircel Smart Money but missed out from applying for a payments bank along with Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

Note that the RBI said that it would offer licences  “on tap” for aspirants who did not make it in the first round. MediaNama has written to Aircel for a confirmation and will update once we hear from them.

Note that Reliance Communications does not have a wallet licence from the RBI and the wallet business will be complementary to the merged entity as it looks to break into the payments business.

The report added that 10% of its 91 million subscribers are wallet users. Aircel is also planning to integrate the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to its wallet but no details on how it would be done were provided in the report. A reminder: wallets are not part of the UPI right now for interoperable payments but they can add the UPI as a payment option to load money into the wallet as in the case of Paytm.

The telco added that it is working on adding Aadhaar-based registration, online digital signature for agreements, online KYC validation and dynamic QR codes for payments.

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Merger with Reliance Communications

Last month, Reliance Communications received approvals from Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and stock exchanges including BSE and NSE for its merger deal with Aircel. RCOM added that it is now awaiting approvals from National Company Law Tribunal for mandatory legal clearances. The agreement signed between the shareholders of Reliance, and Malaysia’s Maxis Communications Berhad (MCB)—the shareholders of Aircel will create a merged entity wherein both RCOM and MCB will hold a 50% stake each.


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