The Big Story

Firewalling the vault

By launching a suite of mobile apps and embracing digitisation, big banks are ensuring they stay ahead of the pack

Published 7 years ago on Apr 04, 2016 12 minutes Read
Illustration by Manish Marwah

In September 2015, Nandan Nilekani made a provocative speech at the TiE Leapfrog event in Bengaluru. Referring to payments banks, the Infosys co-founder said the Indian financial services industry is on the cusp of a ‘WhatsApp’ moment. A WhatsApp moment, as Nilekani puts it, is when new-age start-ups shake up a clueless old order to emerge dominant, just like WhatsApp did with the telecom industry, disrupting the SMS business to become the world’s biggest messaging service. A case in point, he said, is mobile wallet Paytm, which got a payments bank licence in August 2015. After having raised $1.3 billion, Paytm, today, facilitates more purchase transactions in volume terms than any Indian bank.