On Reliance Jio lines, RIL pilots Payments Bank Services

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has started live beta trials for its payments bank services. The service is introduced akin to the way RIL introduced Jio around three years ago.

Jio Payments Bank is in live beta trails. The company is also planning to offer merchant solutions. We have been witnessing good response across offline and online, quoted Mint report Anshuman Thakur, Reliance Jio’s strategy and planning head, as saying.

It has first been testing the services among its employees.

Jio Payments bank is a 70:30 joint venture between RIL and SBI. Jio Payments Bank will be 8th licenced entity to function as payments bank in India.

RIL is also moving customers of its JioMoney prepaid mobile wallet to Jio Payments Bank, said another source. Two months ago, Jio integrated SBI’s Yono omnichannel platform on to its MyJio mobile app.

Payment Banks (PB) are seen as a faster route in comparison to traditional banks to bring more Indians under financial coverage. Bharti Airtel, Paytm, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, FINO Payment Bank, India Post Bank, and National Securities Depository Limited are among 11 entities which have received Payments Banks licenses by RBI.

PBs are allowed to accept deposits up to Rs 1 lakh. It can offer remittance services, mobile payments or transfers or purchases and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third party fund transfers. It is not allowed to offer loans or issue credit cards.

Somehow they have not taken off as expected. Payment Banks were expected to kick off with basic digital transactions with payments banks and move on to more complex banking, including loans and investments, in the long run. The low penetration and lack of compliance on the part of PBs have added to the woes. Earlier, RBI had barred Airtel, Fino and Paytm from adding consumers.

Meanwhile, RIL plans to utilize Reliance Jio’s extensive network to facilitate services and reach out masses. In August 2015, Jio was launched first with a beta test for 1 lakh employees. Within just two years after its launch, it got a huge response from masses and disrupted telecom sector. In the September quarter, Reliance Jio added 37 million customers, taking the total user base to 252.3 million. Analysts expect Jio to be number one telco by the end of 2018 if it continues to grow at current pace.

Will RIL also repeat the same feat in the payment bank space? Looking at its disrupting ability, it surely can. But how, is a moot question to ask.

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