India’s central bank has agreed to the demands of banks to allow companies to set up third-party networks to increase ATM deployments in India.

The Reserve Bank of India issued draft guidelines for so-called white-label ATMs on Feb. 12 that note the technical requirements and how stakeholders would share revenue.

Under the proposal, providers interested in setting up white-label ATMs must apply with the central bank for authorization under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act of 2007. In addition, the central bank says such entities should have a minimum net worth of 100 crore rupees (U$20 million or 15 million euros) at they apply.

The Indian Finance Ministry had approved in principle allowing white-label ATMs in October (see story).

All ATMs in India now either are owned by banks or are leased by them to ATM service providers. However, service providers own and manage white-label ATMs exclusively, and the machines are open to all consumers, regardless of their bank.

Indian banks deploy about 75,000 ATMs, but they are unable to cover even 50% of the country’s population, a major portion of which lives in smaller towns and villages, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India. At least twice that number of ATMs still is needed to provide a majority of India’s population access to the machines, the central bank contends.

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