India's top mobile firm Bharti Airtel has received a licence from the Reserve Bank of India to launch financial services on mobile phones. "Bharti Airtel was granted the licence to use the ‘Semi Closed Wallet’ by the RBI in this quarter. This allows a customer to exchange physical cash for virtual money which can be stored on mobile phone to pay for goods/services for transaction of value less than Rs 5,000," Bharti said in a statement.
Semi closed wallet are prepaid payment instruments which do notallow cash withdrawal or redemption by the holder; and would only be redeemable at specific outlets, with whom the operator partners. “This will, however, create mobile money or payments as a category in our country.”
“This will also allow Airtel to offer a safe, secure, convenient and user friendly medium to our customers for making their payments,” the company informed.
Bharti said it was evaluating various options that the licence provides and did not have an exact timeline for the launch of the services. With this, Bharti has become the first telecom service provider to get the licence for starting financial services using mobile phones.
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