Airtel Payments Bank says that it will impose a 0.65% cash withdrawal fee on transactions for its account holders in order to discourage them from using cash. However, the payments bank will not charge any processing fee from its customers and merchants partners for digital transactions.
The move comes in the backdrop of a government panel suggesting that cash usage in the country be charged in order to encourage people to adopt digital means of payments. The suggestion was a part of a committee report headed Ratan Watal, principal advisor, NITI Aayog. The report was submitted to finance minister Arun Jaitley last week and also detailed strategies to push digital transactions.
In its pilot programme in Rajasthan, Airtel said it would be giving its customers one minute of talk time on their Airtel mobile for every Rupee deposited. Note that this is applicable for first-time deposits only. For example, if a customer opens an account with a deposit of Rs 1,000 they will get 1000 minutes of free talk time.
It is also running an offer to where it will give away 100 minutes of free Airtel to Airtel mobile talk time to 100,000 of its customers through a lucky draw. Incidentally, Airtel Payments Bank says it has 100,000 savings accounts opened.
The registration process for merchants will also be completely paperless and would allow them to start accepting payments instantaneously using either an app (smartphone) or USSD (feature phone). Airtel Payments Bank is looking at nationwide merchant ecosystem of over 3 million partners that will include small Kirana stores, small shops and restaurants etc.
Currently, Airtel Payments Bank offers 7.25 % per annum on deposits in savings accounts and a customer’s Airtel mobile number will be their bank account number. It also offers personal accidental insurance of Rs 1 lakh with every savings account.