Jio Payments Bank, a joint venture between Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and SBI, is gearing up to commence operations by December this year. The Mukesh Ambani-owned conglomerate originally scheduled the launch in October when it opened bookings for its 4G-enabled Jio Phone.
If the launch goes as planned, Jio Payments Bank will be the country’s fifth active payments bank after Airtel, Paytm, India Post, and Fino Payments Bank.
Commenting on the development, a source in the know said, “The payments bank was expected to launch its operations in October. The launch got delayed as the RBI had asked them to demonstrate its capabilities to ensure it is ready for a glitch-free launch. The launch will now be in December.”
Jio Payments Bank is a 70:30 joint venture between RIL and the government-run State Bank of India. A Jio official close to the development said requesting anonymity, “The RBI wanted to be sure that the payments bank is fully compliant with all the regulations and is able to service its customers efficiently. The demonstrations are being made to assure the regulator that the standards of customer service will be sustainably maintained.”
Through the partnership, SBI is looking to leverage Reliance Jio’s telecom network to connect last-mile customers, especially in the country’s unbanked rural areas. In exchange, Reliance Jio will have access to SBI’s wide customer base across the country.
As of April 1 this year, SBI had a total of 420 Mn customers. Reliance Jio, on the other hand, boasts a user base of around 129 Mn, as per a report by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).