office_airtel_reuters-1-1508x706_cThe first payments bank in the country has gone live. Airtel Payments Bank , which has rolled out a pilot project in Rajasthan, launched with the promise of being a disruptor, offering 7.25% interest on savings bank accounts. This is the highest return offered by a bank in India, with most lenders giving only 4%.

Airtel, which was earlier offering a wallet — Airtel Money — was the first to receive a payments bank licence from the Reserve Bank of India . After receiving the approval, Airtel entered into a pact with Kotak Bank, which agreed to acquire a 20% stake in the bank. Shashi Arora, MD and CEO of Airtel Payments Bank, said, “With this pilot, we have taken a big step towards the launch of our banking services and will be testing our operational readiness for full-scale launch across India.” The bank is also providing a free personal accident cover of Rs 1 lakh with every savings bank account.Airtel Payments Bank plans to open accounts by leveraging the telecom operator’s extensive national distribution network of over 1.5 million retail outlets, including in rural areas.