Bharti Airtel on Wednesday said it had been granted a licence by the Reserve Bank of India that would enable the firm to start 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 Airtel said in a statement.

Semi closed wallets are prepaid payment instruments, redeemable at specific outlets, with whom the operator ties up. However, instruments do not permit cash withdrawal or redemption by the holder, Bharti statement said.

User-friendly

The licence would help Bharti Airtel create mobile payments as a category in the country and allow the company to offer a secure and user-friendly medium to customers for making payments. The company, however, did not specify the exact time frame for the launch of these services.

“At present, we are evaluating various options that this license provides to find out how best we can create a value proposition for Airtel customers... It is difficult to give an exact timeline for the launch at this stage,” the statement added.

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