Popular App Paytm likely to merge Wallet Business with Payments Bank Operation

Paytm Logo. Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi, Dec 5, 2016: One97 Communications, the firm that owns Paytm is merging the virtual wallet business with payments bank operation. Reserve Bank of India has also awarded `in-principle’ approval to Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of One97 Communications to set up a Payments Bank. But, how exactly will the Paytm Payment Banks work? Well, it is basically the transfer of business.

Wallet business will move to payments bank while One97 will be managing the sales part for the wallet business. The transfer will be complete once payment bank licence is obtained.

Alibaba Group and its affiliate Ant Financial pumped in USD 680 million into Paytm’s parent One97 Communications last year, taking its total shareholding to over 40 percent in the country’s largest mobile wallet operator Paytm with close to 160 million customers.

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However, the Chinese entity will not have a direct shareholding in the payments bank. A spokesperson from Paytm said, “We are working hard towards the launch of the payment bank and expect it to launch in due time. We are working with Fidelity, Infosys and Oracle to deploy a scalable platform that will be able to meet the requirements of the bank when it launches. There are no timelines.”

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RBI had initiated the era of differentiated banking with SFB (small finance bank) and PB (payments bank), and 21 entities, including 11 for payments bank, who were given in-principle nod last year.

However, three big firms ie. Tech Mahindra, Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company and a consortium of Dilip Shanghvi, IDFC Bank and Telenor Financial Services — backed out of the payments bank licensing race.

Further, last month Airtel became the first entity to go on board with the Payments Bank operation. With the onset of government’s demonetisation move, virtual wallets like Paytm, Freecharge and Mobikwik have seen a rise in their users.

– prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks