Telecommunications services provider Airtel has unveiled plans to launch a Nigerian payment service bank (PSB) in the country.

The firm, through a subsidiary, will soon apply for the same to the country’s central bank.

Nigerian payment service bank

Airtel Nigeria managing director Segun Ogunsanya said: “We welcome the development and we express profound appreciation to the CBN for its commitment to driving financial inclusion through technology.

“In line with the guidelines shared by the CBN, we have commenced the process of applying for a licence as we believe that we are at a vantage position to empower and connect more Nigerians as well as deliver mobile banking services to the doorsteps of the financially excluded. Folks will no longer need to keep their money inside cooking pots or under their beds because we will securely connect them to the financial system.”

Airtel has more than 40 million subscribers and presence in the country’s key regions. Using this reach, the firm plans to tend to the unbanked population.

The latest move comes shortly after telecom provider MTN Group’s announcement to apply for a payment service bank licence.

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Airtel Payments Bank, Paytm Payments Bank and Fino Payments Bank have already launched operations in India.

Payment banks are allowed to take deposits, offer remittance services, sell insurance and mutual funds, offer internet banking, and issue ATM/debit cards. However, they are restricted from lending to customers and issuing credit cards unlike traditional banks.