LUCKNOW: Airtel Payments Bank India’s first payments bank announced that it has opened over one lakh saving accounts in Uttar Pradesh within the first 2 weeks of its launch. Approximately 60% of these accounts have been opened in rural areas, underlining the massive scope for serving customers particularly in unbanked and under-banked pockets of the state, especially in rural areas.

Airtel Payments Bank, a fully digital and paperless bank, aims to take basic banking services to the doorstep of every Indian by leveraging Airtel’s vast retail network. In UP, over 12,000 neighborhood Airtel retails stores also act at banking points, and customers can easily open saving accounts, deposit and withdraw cash across any of these banking points.

Nearly two-thirds of these banking points across state are in rural areas, helping in extending the reach of services to unbanked regions, said the company. Shashi Arora, the MD and CEO of the company said, “We are delighted with the response received from customers of UP and look forward to building this momentum and serve even more number of customers in the days to come. We aim to cover about 5 lakh retailers in future to be able to cater all parts of India.”

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But in first phase, the bank will target to convert 2.5 lakh shops into the banking points by March 2017. The bank on one hand provides a constant interest rate of 7.25% on savings account while also gives one minute free talk time of Airtel for every rupee deposited at the time of opening the account, the higher cap being Rs 500.

Unlike mobile wallets, this bank will facilitate all kinds of digital transactions like NEFT, RTGS, and IMPS to promote digital banking services in the country. One can transfer money to any other bank too through this bank. For rural people who don’t have a smartphone, they can assess the feature through USSD by dialing *400# or simple IVR by dialing 400. Both the USSD and IVR are available in 12 languages. Customers just need to know their Adhar number to open an account in the payments bank as their fingerprint would be taken as biometric verification. His mobile number would act as his account number

source”cnbc”