India Post Payments Bank today said that it will start pan-India roll out of its network from April this year.
"India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) Expansion Programme continues to make brisk progress and a nation-wide roll-out is scheduled beginning April 2018," the Department of Posts said in a statement.
All 1.55 lakh post office branches will operate as access points and 650 payments bank branches will provide them back-end support.
"Once the proposed expansion is completed, IPPB will be providing the largest financial inclusion network in the country, covering both urban as well as rural hinterland with ability to provide digital payment services at the doorstep with the help of Postmen and Gramin Dak Sewaks (GDS)," the statement said.
In 2015, RBI had granted 'in-principle' approval to 11 entities, including the Department of Posts, to set up payments banks. Payments banks can accept deposits of up to Rs 1 lakh per account from individuals and small businesses.
Unlike traditional banks, payments banks are not allowed to give loans or credit to customers.
The new model of banking allows mobile firms, super market chains and others to cater to banking requirements of individuals and small businesses. A payments bank is a differentiated bank and confines its activities to acceptance of demand deposits, remittance services, Internet banking and other specified services.
IPPB will be the third payments bank to have full fledged operations after Airtel Payments Bank and Paytm.
"IPPB will also enable more than 17 crore active account-holders of Post Office Savings Bank to make interoperable digital payments including the benefit of NEFT, RTGS, UPI and bill payment services. Additionally, the IPPB will enable acceptance of digital payments across post offices in the country in line with the digital payments initiative of the government," the statement said.
IPPB launched its pilot services in Raipur and Ranchi in January 2017.