Indian telecom group Bharti Airtel has launched a pilot of its payment bank in Rajasthan, offering an interest rate of 7.25% on deposits in savings account.

Ahead of a full scale, pan-Indian launch, the pilot project will run in 10,000 Airtel retail outlets where basic banking services will be provided.

The bank is not offering any debit card facility right now. Customers can deposit withdraw cash at any of the designated Airtel retail outlets, which will also function as banking points.

Its product portfolio includes payment banking services and semi-closed mobile wallet services, Airtel Money.

Airtel Payments Bank MD and CEO Shashi Arora 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. We would also like to use feedback from our customers to further improve our processes and look forward to serving them.”

As a payments bank it cannot perform lending activities, except while giving loans to its employees on approval of the board. The bank can, however, accept deposits of as much as INR100,000.

On 20 August 2015, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had given in-principle approval to 11 payment banks applicants.

The recipients were Aditya Birla Nuvo, Reliance Industries, Airtel M Commerce Services, Vodafone m-pesa, Tech Mahindra, Cholamandalam Distribution Services, Department of Posts, Fino PayTech, National Securities Depository,  Dilip Shantilal Shanghvi, and Vijay Shekhar Sharma.