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Airtel Payments Bank’s e-KYC suspension: A timeline of events

Airtel Payments Bank will not be able to use Aadhaar for full e-KYC, according to a list of authorized Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) published by the UIDAI, Business Standard reports. While Airtel’s phone SIM registration process can use e-KYC again, the Payments Bank has effectively been put on hold from using Aadhaar-biometric authentication until the RBI has submitted a report on what lapses the company committed that led to its initial suspension.


  • In late September 2017, it was reported that Airtel Payments Bank had opened bank accounts without the informed consent of its customers and receives a notice from UIDAI. Airtel denies all wrongndoing.
  • In November 2017, following up on several consumer complaints regarding non-credit of LPG subsidies the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas said that it learnt that the subsidies had been credited their Airtel Payments Bank accounts instead. A sum of over Rs 47 crore was said to have been transacted into the payments bank as part of LPG subsidies.
  • In December 2017, Airtel deposited an interim penalty of Rs 2.5 crore with UIDAI. The company also assured that it will return the Rs 190 crore that had come into the ‘unsolicited’ payments bank accounts of 31 lakh mobile subscribers.
  • Also in December 2017, following the entire fiasco Airtel Payments Bank CEO Shashi Arora resigned from his position.
  • On December 22, partial eKYC was restored for Airtel by the UIDAI. UIDAI will only allow mobile SIM KYC through Aadhaar and will not allow the same for opening bank accounts
  • On January 8, it was reported that the company had terminated relationships with over a 1000 retailers and fined others for not following the proper process while signing up customers.
  • In February, RBI updates the operating guidelines for how payments banks must do KYC, in order to prevent a situation similar to Airtel’s case.
  • On March 12, the RBI fined Airtel Payments Bank ₹5 crore, saying that KYC norms were violated. RBI did not pronounce the opened accounts invalid.

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