Airtel Payments Bank has launched operations in 29 states across India, offering 7.25% interest on savings accounts.

The payments bank, which is a joint venture between Bharti Airtel and Kotak Mahindra Bank, will invest INR30bn to develop its nationwide network and payments ecosystem. The bank will use over 2,50,000 Airtel retail outlets to offer services.  

The bank will not charge any processing fee for digital transactions from its customers and merchants partners.

Account will be linked to Aadhaar cards and a customer’s mobile number would serve as his/her account number.

Airtel Payments Bank launched an app that can be accessed through MyAirtel app and will offer customers a MasterCard powered online card.

Sunil Bharti Mittal said: “With Airtel Payments Bank, we are starting another important chapter in our journey, with the potential to truly transform lives and contribute to financial inclusion in the country.

“Just like mobile telephony leapfrogged traditional telecom networks to take affordable telecom services deep into the country, Airtel Payments Bank aims to take digital banking services to the unbanked over their mobile phones in a quick and efficient manner.”

Airtel launched a pilot of its payment bank in Rajasthan in November 2016, later followed by pilot services in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Airtel was among the 11 entities who secured in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to offer payments bank services in August 2015. The others include Aditya Birla Nuvo, Reliance Industries, Vodafone m-pesa, Tech Mahindra, Cholamandalam Distribution Services, Department of Posts, Fino PayTech, National Securities Depository, Shri Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Shri Dilip Shantilal Shanghvi.

Later, Tech Mahindra, Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company and a consortium of Dilip Shanghvi, IDFC Bank and Telenor Financial Services backed out of the plan.