Jio Payments Bank a step closer to launch, Mukesh Ambani foray to take on Paytm, Airtel; trials on
You may soon be able to use Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries banking services with the impending launch of its Jio Payments Bank coming to a step closer. RIL has kicked off live beta trials for Jio Payments Bank to test its network and infrastructure before the planned commercial launch of services across the country. The trials will help the company to find any loopholes and plug them accordingly.
Earlier last week, after RIL announced its second-quarter earnings, Reliance Jio’s strategy and planning head Anshuman Thakur told media that the company has started live beta trials for payment banking services and is also rolling out merchant solutions. He added that the service is seeing good acceptance across offline and online.
Jio Payments Bank
Jio Payments Bank is one of the total eight entities licensed to launch payment banks and will be the fifth active payments bank after Airtel, Paytm, India Post, and Fino Payments Bank. RIL and State Bank of India (SBI) entered the space in April 2018 by forming a 70:30 joint venture to compete against more established players such as Airtel Payments Bank, Vijay Shekhar Sharma-promoted Paytm Payments Bank.
India’s second largest cellular services provider Bharti Airtel was the first to float a payments bank in the country in November 2016. On the other hand, while Paytm Payments Bank started operations in May 2017, Fino Payments Bank was launched in June last year.
Once commercially launched, Jio Payments Bank proposes to leverage both SBI and Reliance Industries’ wide customer base to strengthen its presence in the payments bank space in the country.
Reliance Jio vs Jio Payment Bank
To begin with, RIL is presently in process of testing its payments bank services among its employees, Mint newspaper reported citing sources. RIL is also moving customers of its JioMoney prepaid mobile wallet to Jio Payments Bank, it added. The company is looking to utilize an extensive network of Reliance Jio to facilitate services and reach out masses.
Earlier, Reliance Jio had also started on similar lines with a beta launch of 4G services in 2015 for its employees. As part of the process, employees were allowed to invite others to join the network. Within a period of about two years, Reliance Jio has turned out to be a huge success for Mukesh Ambani as it has disrupted the telecommunication space in the country.
In the second quarter of the current financial year, Reliance Jio added 37 million customers, which took its total user base to 252.3 million. Media reports have suggested citing several analysts that Jio is expected to become the largest telecom services provider by the end of 2018 if it continues the current growth pace.
Will RIL also repeat the same feat in the payment banking space? Only time can tell.
What are Payments Banks?
Payment Banks model was visualised by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in 2013-14 to speed up the penetration of the financial service in the country and bring more Indians under financial coverage. RBI also termed it a ‘disruptor’ in the Indian banking space. The key difference between traditional banks and payment banks is that the latter can only offer services such as payments and remittance and cannot offer any financial products such as loans of their own.
Payment Banks can accept deposits up to Rs 1 lakh and offer mobile payments, remittance services, transfers or purchases and other banking services like ATM or debit cards, net banking and third party fund transfers.