Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and State Bank of India (SBI) will join forces to launch a countrywide online wallet ‘SpeedPay’ in a month, which could have the potential to take on the established players in the market.
BSNL and SBI will approach their respective nodal ministries to enable the use of the wallet to disburse subsidies under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, Anupam Shrivastava, chairman and managing director, BSNL, told The Indian Express.
“We are in the process of discussions with SBI. All the tests are over, everything is complete. In about a fortnight or a month, BSNL will be launching a wallet service with SBI. And that wallet will be available countrywide,” said Shrivastava.
Financial services on mobile phones have witnessed hectic activity in the recent past with competing platforms — banks, mobile service providers and third party financial tech companies such as PayTM, MobiKwik and Oxigen — jostling for space.
“Once we are through with launching the countrywide wallet with SBI, we will together go to the ministries and say that all the disbursement of subsidies could be through the wallet. I’ve been told other private wallet companies also have such a plan. But first and foremost, we need an all-India wallet, which is going to make a significant difference. SBI and BSNL are everywhere, nothing can beat that particular combination,” said Shrivastava.
According to latest data provided by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), BSNL had 8.48 crore wireless subscribers and over 1.47 wireline subscribers by end-February. SBI is India’s largest bank with a network of over 13,000 branches, five associate banks and a presence in the remotest areas of the country.
Last year, BSNL had launched a wallet in partnership with Andhra Bank, but it had a limited spread, covering the two states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
A wallet is an open prepaid instrument that could be used as a means for purchase of goods and services at any point-of-sale terminals that accept cards, and allows cash withdrawal at ATMs. It allows people to send money to other people, who can then use the wallet to withdraw cash from a bank even without an account.