White Label ATM – Meaning, Example, Regulations, Operators

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White Label ATM Industry in India

White Label ATMs (WLA ATMs) have become an indispensable part of modern society, revolutionizing the way we conduct banking transactions. While banks operate most ATMs in India, a relatively new category of ATMs has emerged – the White Label ATMs, which are not directly owned or branded by any specific bank. In this article, we will delve into this new industry in India, explore its regulation, and evolution, and shed light on some notable White Label ATM examples and operators.

What is White Label ATM?

White Label ATM is a relatively new category of ATMs in India that are not branded by banks. In simple terms, White Label ATM refers to machines established, owned, and operated by non-bank entities under the Companies Act 1956.

In the dynamic world of modern banking, WLA companies play a pivotal role by seamlessly integrating into the banking network and offering a diverse range of services to customers from any bank. This article explores the vital functions of WLA companies, including facilitating cash withdrawals, bill payments, and cash deposit services. In return, these operators charge fees to the card-issuing bank for providing this convenient facility to their customers.

Under the White Label ATM business model, ATMs are set up and operated by non-bank entities, carrying the brand name of the WLA operators. These ATMs provide a convenient and accessible banking solution to customers, regardless of the bank they hold accounts with. These ATMs are also known as “no name” ATMs, although this is a misnomer as the ATMs carry the name of the company operating it.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted authorization for the operations of WLAs by non-bank entities under the Payment & Settlement Systems Act, 2007. This move was aimed at expanding the ATM network in India, with a particular focus on rural and semi-urban areas, bridging the gap in financial services accessibility.

Operations of White Label ATM Operators

From the user’s perspective, operating a WLA is similar to any other ATM. However, the backend processes may be more complex. A WLA operator interacts with three intermediaries during the transaction process: a lending bank, a sponsor bank for settlements, and an ATM network provider like NPCI. WLA operators follow a B2B business model by partnering with banks. Their revenue and profitability depend on the volume of transactions at their ATMs, necessitating building connections with end customers as in a B2C model.

Establishing connections with potential customers and cultivating awareness and trust regarding the safety and convenience of White Label ATMs (WLAs) is just as crucial as building relationships with sponsor banks. Investing in building customer trust towards the brand plays a pivotal role for WLA operators in attracting customers, increasing footfall at ATMs, and ultimately driving revenues.

Facilities with White Label ATM

White Label ATMs offer various facilities and services, including:

  1. Any customer belonging to any bank can use it.
  2. Five transactions are free every month.
  3. They are available 24/7, including holidays.
  4. Value-added services like mobile recharge and utility bill payments are provided.

History of White Label ATM Industry in India

Until 2012, only banks were allowed to set up ATMs in India. The number of ATMs deployed in the country by March 2012 was 95,686, with a majority located in urban and metro areas. To extend ATM coverage in unbanked and underbanked regions, the RBI permitted non-bank entities to establish, own, and operate ATMs in June 2012. This led to the emergence of White Label ATMs, specifically targeted at semi-urban and rural areas with low bank-owned ATM penetration.

In 2013 and 2014, RBI issued Certificates of Authorization to eight non-bank entities for setting up and operating WLAs in India.

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WLA ATM Licenses by RBI

Entity Month and Year of Issuance of Certificate Current Status as of July 2021
Tata Communications Payment Solutions Limited May 2013 Operational
Hitachi Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. November 2013 Operational
Vakrangee Limited January 2014 Operational
India1 Payments Limited February 2014 Operational
Muthoot Finance Limited February 2014 The company surrendered its certificate of Authorisation in 2020 due to mounting losses
SREI Infrastructure Finance Limited May 2014 The company surrendered its certificate of Authorisation in 2018 due to viability issues
RiddiSiddhi Bullions Limited May 2014 RBI revoked the certificate of Authorisation in March 2021 due to Non-compliance with regulatory requirements
AGS Transact Technologies Ltd June 2014 RBI revoked the certificate of Authorisation in March 2021 due to Non-compliance with regulatory requirements

As of January 2024, four WLA ATM operators remain in the industry – India1 Payments (formerly known as BTI Payment), Tata Communications Payment Solutions, Hitachi Payment Services, and Vakrangee.

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Regulatory Tailwinds for WLA ATM Operators

In March 2019, the RBI introduced a significant change in the business guidelines for WLA operators. This change allowed WLAs to directly source cash from RBI, reducing their reliance on bank withdrawals. As a result of this regulatory update, the availability of cash in all denominations at these ATMs has increased, providing customers with greater convenience and accessibility to cash.

In June 2021, the RBI conducted a review of the ATM interchange fees for ATM transactions and implemented a notable change. The RBI permitted an increase in the interchange fee per transaction for both financial transactions, raising it from INR 15 to INR 17, and for non-financial transactions, increasing it from INR 5 to INR 6. These revised interchange fees were applicable in all regions and came into effect on 1st August 2021. This presents a huge incentive for WLAOs to deploy more ATMs in the country, especially in rural and semi-urban areas, where the penetration is lower.

Operating and maintaining ATMs can be a costly endeavor, and recent factors like higher interest rates and increased fuel costs have exacerbated expenses. The installation cost of an ATM typically amounts to INR 5,00,000, with monthly operational costs hovering around INR 50,000. In light of these financial challenges, the Confederation of ATM Industry (CATMI) has called for an additional increase in the interchange fee. CATMI has proposed raising the interchange fee to INR 23 for financial transactions and INR 8 for non-financial transactions.

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Number of White ATMs in India

As seen above, the white label ATM example includes machines installed by four companies. In total, these four companies have deployed over 35,800 ATMs in India.

WLA operatorsLicense approval dateNumber of ATMs (March 2023)
India1 Payments Limited 12 February 2014 12,142
Hitachi Payment Services25 November 20138,750
Tata Communications Payment Solutions3 May 20138,700
Vakrangee23 January 20146,238

As of 31 March 2023, India1 Payments holds the distinction of being the largest white-label ATM operator in India, with the deployment of 10,000 WLAs, branded as ‘India1 ATMs’. This achievement becomes more impressive considering that a majority of these ATMs have been installed in semi-urban and rural areas. Excitingly, India1 Payments is also exploring opportunities in the primary market and has filed DRHP with SEBI.

Hitachi Money Spot ATM is the brand associated with Hitachi Payment Services’ White Label ATM deployment in India. With a strong focus on deploying WLAs in Tier 3 to Tier 6 towns, the company has experienced remarkable growth in WLA deployment in recent years.

Tata Communications Payment Solutions (TCPSL) holds the distinction of being the first company authorized by the RBI to open White Label ATMs in India. It launched its operations under the brand name ‘Indicash’ in June 2013 and notably inaugurated the first ATM in a Tier-5 town.

Vakrangee is currently the smallest of the four White Label ATM players in India. Despite its smaller scale, White Label ATMs remain a critical component of Vakrangee’s business model, unlike other players that have more diversified business interests.

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Growth of White Label ATMs in India

Between March 2017 and March 2023, the number of ATMs deployed by WLAOs witnessed a strong Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17%.

White Label ATM Growth
The figures mentioned in the image are taken from an industry report and thus, are old.

Region-wise WLA in India

Regionwise WLA ATMs in India1

WLA Operators’ Market Share by ATMs deployed

India1 Payments34%
Hitachi Payment Services24%
Tata Communications Payment Solutions (Indicash)24%
Vakrangee18%
Market share as of 31 March 2023

WLA FAQs

Which is India’s biggest White Label ATM operator?

India1 Payments is the largest white-label ATM operator in India, based on the number of ATMs installed as of 31 March 2023. The company’s network includes 12,142 WLAs.

Which company was first authorized to operate White Label ATMs?

Tata-group entity Tata Communications Payment Solutions (TCPSL) was the first company authorized by the RBI to open White Label ATMs in India. The company launched its ATMs under the ‘Indicash’ brand name in June 2013.

How does White Label ATM operator earn money?

WLA operators primarily depend on intercharge fee for their reveneus. This fee is charged to the card-issuing banks on every usage. Currently, the intercharge fee is INR 17 for financial transactions and INR 6 for non-financial transactions. Additionally, White ATM operators can offer value-added services and earn additional revenue.

4 COMMENTS

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