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Vodafone and Airtel get payment banks license nod from RBI

The country’s apex bank, the Reserve Bank of India, has given in-principle approval to 11 companies, including top telecom operators–Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, for setting up payments banks for three years.

The companies will be handed licenses if they fulfill all conditions listed by the RBI after a period of 18 months.

The other applicants includes Reliance Industries, Department of Posts, Cholamandalam Distribution Services, Tech Mahindra, National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL), Fino PayTech, Sun Pharma’s Dilip Shantilal Shanghvi and PayTM.

Around 41 companies had applied for the payment bank licenses. RBI said,” some of the entities who did not qualify in this round, could well be successful in future rounds.”

Payments banks can accept deposits and remittances but can’t offer loans.

Sunil Sood, MD and CEO, Vodafone India, said: “We are grateful to the RBI for giving us the licence for setting up a payment bank. With over 90,000 ‘M-Pesa’ agents, we are already providing people in remote areas a convenient way to, transfer money and make payments in a safe and secure manner. We have partnered with several government bodies to run pilots for enabling direct transfer of wages/subsidies. The payment bank licence will enable us to build on this further and offer a more comprehensive portfolio of banking and financial products and services, accelerating India’s journey into a cashless economy.”

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