India-based Paytm Payments Bank not only wants to become the world's largest digital bank, but also to evolve into a financial services company providing a slew of services like wealth management and trading.
In an interview with Bloomberg published Tuesday (Nov. 28), Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said the company is aiming to have 500 million bank accounts.
“We are unveiling our money market fund, launching our debit card and we’ll have the capabilities to allow enterprises to open business accounts,” Sharma said. “Digital payments was our entry point, we want to become a vertically-integrated financial services company.”
While Paytm Payments Bank can accept deposits and remittances, it cannot lend money to its customers. The bank will be the country’s first mobile-only bank that does not charge fees for online transactions and will not require a minimum balance. The bank is majority owned by Sharma, but telecommunications firm One97 Communications has a 49 percent stake. According to Sharma, the company can get around regulatory obstacles to offer lending by working in partnership with One97, which will launch a credit card and offer monthly installment-based loans.
“We will launch share trading and insurance products very soon,” he added. “We want to become an nternet-agei financial services company.”
Sharma explained his company is leveling the playfield. The banking system has traditionally been skewed heavily toward those with money, while the less wealthy people of India have had a tough time paying their bills or transferring money to family members.
“Buying insurance and investing through our wealth management products will become widely accessible through the payments bank,” he said.
Paytm Payments Bank is an offshoot of digital money service Paytm, an electronic payment firm which recently obtained a permit to create a payments bank and provide financial services to those underserved by the Indian financial services industry.