CredRight, one of the first FinTech start-ups focused on facilitating loans to chit fund subscribers, announced the launch of its branch network at Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Warangal. Very soon the operation will start at Coimbatore too. The latest expansion will even shape up the future employment opportunities for professionals in these cities.

In the next 24 months, CredRight plans to reach out to more than 6000 customers at Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Warangal and serve the Chit Funds Subscribers by facilitating loans from Banks/ NBFCs – with a targeted monthly disbursement of more than INR 250 million.

CredRight aims to disburse loans of more than Rs. 500 million by end of March 2020. CredRight, the data-driven lending platform, facilitates loans to Micro & Small Enterprises. Given little or no financial history and informal/unrecorded transactions, such enterprises are often turned down by Banks & NBFCs but CredRight is able to build a better credit profile using chit repayment history of these enterprises and helps them avail loan from INR 100 thousand to Rs. 3.5 million. In the coming fiscal year 2019-20, the company plans to further invest in technology and grow from the strength of 20 to 50.

Neeraj Bansal, Co-founder & CEO of CredRight, said

There are around 50 million registered and unregistered MSME businesses in India that face a nearly $300 billion credit gap. The lack of adequate finance due to shortage of organized lending from banks and other formal institutes along with absence of transparency poses severe challenges in front of MSMEs to obtain loans.

We are looking to provide loans of above Rs. 5 Lakh to retailers/small businesses like vegetable vendor, chicken or barber shops and above Rs. 10 Lakh to SMEs. In the last year, the loan band ranged from Rs. 1 Lakh to maximum of Rs. 35 Lakh with an average of Rs. 9.5 Lakh

Many of the banks hesitate to offer loans to small scale units seeing the growth of non-performing assets in the past. Collateral-based lending models will have to become more flexible and thoughtful, based on cash flows and commitment of the entrepreneur towards the business. So, what are the options left for such unserved and undeserved enterprises? Can such MSMEs be able to start and run their businesses or will they be discouraged to shut down?

CredRight brings unsecured loans as well as fill the deficit of financial data via chit records. So, customers who are unserved or underserved currently can avail loans from CredRight and make monetary use of their available Chit data. Also, CredRight’s end-to-end process is digital so customers can apply and receive money via the app in 3 days. On the other hand, CredRight offers local language/vernacular services via the app as well as call centres making the process easier and comfortable for the customers to avail loans.

The Indian chit fund business is estimated to be around Rs. 700,000 million with about 75-80 Lakh customers. There are an estimated 1.6 million registered MSMEs in India, as per Ministry of MSME, Govt. of India 2017~18 report; but they face a major problem in terms of getting adequate credit for expansion of business activities. The report pointed out that the MSMEs received only 17.4% of the total credit outstanding. It is very saddening that in a progressing country like India, only 33-34% of firms from MSME sector have an access to banks and institutional financing channels while rest of them resort to informal channels like friends, family and other personal channels for raising loans, says ASSOCHAM report.

An organized approach in Chit Fund lending can surely decrease the pressure since this has long been the predominant instrument for financial inclusion in India – even before microfinance. CredRight has experienced a huge credit pull from small vendors, start-ups, shopkeepers, agencies dealing in commodities and those engaged in numerous other trades in the unorganized sector. The growth of unsecured loans is a reason for hope for the new entrepreneurs, particularly high-skill professionals and those who can part finance their businesses.

By tapping the huge database and strength of the chit fund sector, the Hyderabad-based CredRight is expanding rapidly in extending loans to the small and medium enterprises. With a few players in the segment, the company hopes to tap into the huge unmet demand for credit/ loans in the MSME segment while addressing the problem of getting them and making the procedure simpler.

About CredRight

CredRight is a disruptive fintech platform, driven by an inspiring mission to empower Micro & Small Entrepreneurs [MSEs] which do not have access to organized credit from financial institutions [like Banks and NBFCs]. To meet their working capital needs, MSMEs often subscribe to rotating savings and credit associations [ROSCAs] and chit funds where the average wait time is 5 months given the high volume of bids from subscribers. Dependence on informal sources like money lenders is high.

Pine Labs, a merchant platform company, has announced a collaboration with Google India to enable offline transactions for their digital payments service, Google Pay. With this collaboration, Google can have access to over 330,000 POS terminals in over 3000 towns in India. Pine Labs’ solutions are used by merchants from diverse sectors – electronics, food & beverage, fashion, pharmacy, telecom and airlines. Pine Labs enables online and offline last-mile retail transaction for over 100 brands.

Vicky Bindra, CEO, Pine Labs said

We are excited to collaborate with Google and bring the convenience of UPI at point of sale for Google Pay users through our platform in India. Last year, over 100 million customers bought products and services from our merchant network. With Google Pay, we expect to reach many new groups of customers across the country.

Pine Labs branded POS terminals in offline stores can be used by merchants to process Google Pay using a secure, two-step process. Merchants can initiate a payment request using a Google Pay user’s mobile number. The user then authenticates this request via their Google Pay app for the payment to be processed. Both the merchant and customer receive instant notifications on the completion of a transaction.

About Pine Labs

Pine Labs is incorporated in Singapore and has its largest operations in India. It is a merchant platform company that provides financing and last-mile retail transaction technology. Pine Labs’ offerings are used by 1,00,000 merchants in 3700 cities and towns across India and Malaysia. Its investors include Sequoia India, PayPal, Temasek, Actis Capital, Altimeter Capital, Madison India Capital and Sofina. Visit Pine Labs for more information.

In one of the largest financial inclusion initiatives of its kind in India, NiYO, a fintech company managing employee benefits and payroll, and Upwardly, a tech-enabled financial advisory startup, have jointly launched a savings and investment solution for the financially underserved population in the country.

The partnership will make their combined wealth-creation app – NiYO Bharat mobile app – available to the masses, including over 1 million existing and new users of NiYO. The new investment strategy will lower the entry barriers to structured investment to a minimum of Rs 100.

NiYO Bharat mobile app users, who comprise blue and grey collar workers from the services and manufacturing sectors, will have a best-in-class solution with ease of convenience and top performance. The NiYO-Upwardly solution will target investors with annual incomes of $2,000 to $4,000 falling outside the purview of traditional banks and wealth management companies. This segment is estimated at over 50 million households.

NiYO has been launching financial products that are carefully curated by the proprietary algorithms designed by Upwardly. NiYO Co-founder and CEO Vinay Bagri said

Financial inclusion has always been at the core of our business. We are delighted to collaborate with Upwardly and offer a savings and investing solution to our customers through the NiYO Bharat mobile app. We believe this will go a long way in helping both our existing and new customers manage their short-term and long-term financial needs, and fulfill their financial goals in life.

Prateek Mehta, CEO, Upwardly, noted

We started Upwardly to democratize investing and wealth creation. We are excited about our partnership with NiYO and we believe that we can take investing to the next Rs 10~20 crore savers in India. A minimum investment amount of Rs. 100 and a choice between savings and growth options will excite our customers. We have also introduced Video KYC to seamlessly on-board NiYO customers. We expect NiYO users to widely adopt the solution and benefit from structured wealth creation.

About NiYO

NiYO is a fintech startup conceptualized in 2015 that offers digital banking solutions for salaried employees across various sectors. Currently, with over 5 lakh customers and relationships with 3000 corporates, NiYO is growing to be a truly trusted digital banking platform across India. For more information, please visit NiYO.

The Payments Council of India [PCI] which constitutes more than 100 members across representing various regulated industry players in the payments and settlements systems made a presentation to the RBI Committee on Deepening of Digital Payments [CDDP] headed by Nandan Nilekani at their office in Mumbai.

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Mr. Naveen Surya, Chairman Emeritus, PCI, Mr. Vishwas Patel, Chairman, PCI and Director Infibeam Avenues Ltd, Mr. Loney Antony, Co-Chair, PCI and Managing Director, Hitachi Payment Services and Mr. Gaurav Chopra, Executive Director, PCI met RBI and presented its key recommendations for driving financial inclusion through payments.

In its report the council has recommended a medium to long term strategy for accelerating the growth of digital payments in India backed by a regulatory regime which is conducive to enhancing parity between cash and digital payments, offering seamless access to payments and settlements infrastructure [RTGS], formation of a KYC bureau, promoting economic viability through tax incentives and exemptions, stimulating competition and offering customer choice while safeguarding transactional security and providing a level playing field to new entrants.

Considering cash is the most competitive and attractive payment option, the council has suggested that all the digital platforms especially PPIs should be allowed to seamlessly issue and allow payments and remittance transactions below INR 50,000/- with minimum KYC [mobile verified] which will enhance parity between cash and digital transactions.

Currently only Prepaid Payment Instruments [PPIs] have been partially allowed direct access to payment transactions through card networks and UPI; the council has suggested all payment entities should be given seamless access to all payment infrastructure and settlements systems. Interoperability to PPIs which is currently only allowed to merchants and remittances at the domestic level should be extended to foreign merchants and foreign inward remittances.

Other Key suggestions made by PCI

  • Allowing cash out from PPIs through ATMs and agent networks for domestic remittances of unbanked population
  • Leveraging Electronic Benefit Transfer [EBT] and Direct Benefit Transfer [DBT] processing through PPIs as an efficient and economical solutions
  • Conversion of all PPIs to full KYC accounts within 12 months from issuance not to be time bound but the conversion should be based on the value and additional features availed by the customers

The council has suggested the non-bank merchant acquirers to be allowed to take direct membership with card networks to acquire merchants under their own BIN. Also settlements being an important function, the council has recommended a seamless access for non-bank entities to key payment systems like RTGS, and NEFT among others.

The council has suggested NBFCs to be allowed the issuance of credit card [physical or digital form factor]. PCI believes the credit card is one of the most critical instruments for the growth of digital payments in India. While approximately 40 million credit cards have been issued so far the credit bureau hosts 400 million+ consumer records, clearly indicating to the untapped market base. The council is therefore betting big on the credit card issuance framework by NBFCs to be play a catalyst for the growth of digital payments across the economy.

On the occasion, Naveen Surya, Chairman Emeritus, PCI, said

The monthly retail payments currently are aggregated at approximately USD $275 billion and we are eyeing for USD $500 billion in the next two years. This clearly indicates our country is on the verge of becoming a digital superpower.

However cash still reigns supreme and to digitize the cash use in the country we need to build a robust digital payments ecosystem besides enhancing customer faith in the industry. It was a great opportunity for us to present our recommendations to CDDP and we are confident that Mr. Nilekani who has played a critical role in building India’s digital story will help us transform the sector preparing it for the next phase of growth.

Vishwas Patel, Chairman, PCI on behalf of the council suggested considering a KYC bureau for the entire payments system owing to technological challenges in the central KYC registry system [cKYC]. He has recommended access to eKYC or digital KYC framework and an inter-operable KYC infrastructure as urgent and critical to improve customer acquisition cost across payment services besides avoiding cost duplication.

He also stated that ‘Government support in form of GST tax exemption in services like Domestic Remittance, Import duty on PoS etc. is key to drive investment and penetration in the middle and bottom of the customer pyramid.

The council has recommended the capital and net owned funds [NoF] should be proportionate to business as it is critical from compliance cost perspective. Besides they have suggested the payment service providers [PSPs] to be allowed to seamlessly cross sell third party financial products like credit, insurance [medical/accident] among others which will nurture sustenance of the business model while offering convenience to customers.

According to Loney Antony, Co-Chair, PCI and Managing Director, Hitachi Payment Services

All viable and profitable payment initiatives should be fully opened up to the market on a continuous basis to drive competition and innovation via ‘on tap licensing policy’ rather than a onetime ‘window’ approach. Besides all payment entities should have the option to move up or down the value chain provided financial net worth criterion is being met with.

Also in the absence of a Regulatory Sandbox an appropriate framework should run continuous pilots on new ideas and concepts under the industry and regulator’s supervision to foster innovation.

The council strongly recommends offering end customers the choice of deciding the level of KYC for payment transactions basis his frequency, convenience and risk appetite. They have also proposed for an independent security standard/ certification to establish online payment systems as ‘Safe to Pay’ based on fulfillment of the safety and security requirements, so as to give customers the trust to transact online in a safe and secure manner besides a framework for sharing of fraud related data [negative list of individuals] by PSPs to an independent body for better vigilance and controls.

The board of payment and settlements system to be strengthened with a full-time independent payment expert was another important suggestion.

About Payments Council of India [PCI]

Payments Council of India [PCI] is a part of Internet and Mobile Association of India and represents more than 100 players in the payments and settlement systems. Its objective is to address and help resolve various industry level issues and barriers which require discussion and action. The important stakeholders are prepaid payment issuers, payments banks, merchant aggregators and acquirers, payments networks, BBPOUs, UPI facilitators and International Remittances facilitators.

DCB Bank, a new generation private sector bank and Slonkit, India’s first money management app linked to a VISA Card, have partnered to create a digital and cashless ecosystem for educational institutions across India. Slonkit partners with colleges from all major cities and towns in India under the Slonkit Campus Partnership Programme [SCPP].

Under SCPP, students are empowered with a Slonkit VISA Card linked to the Slonkit mobile app. The Slonkit Card can be used anywhere in India – both online and at merchant outlets. Students can pay their college fees and make miscellaneous payments using the Slonkit Card. They can also avail exciting offers at national and hyper-local merchant outlets. The Slonkit app enables students to create budgets and to track and analyze their expenses across categories such as food, travel, shopping, entertainment, etc.

In addition to empowering students to practice money management, Slonkit also transforms colleges digitally and facilitates seamless management of the administrative function. Slonkit also enables these colleges to monitor ‘expense’ reports at ‘in-campus’ merchants. It empowers colleges with a robust digital channel to communicate with students in real-time. Students receive these communications as notifications on the Slonkit mobile app. RFID-enabled Slonkit Cards can equip educational institutions to manage access and attendance easily as well.

Commenting on the development, Praveen Kutty, Head – Retail and SME Banking, DCB Bank said

Financial prudence is a means to enjoy a good lifestyle. It is important to inculcate this habit at a young age. Slonkit enables teenagers and young adults to practice smart money management and financial prudence. Allying with educational institutions will drive adoption of this nifty digital and cashless payments solution for individuals and institutions as well.

Speaking about the partnership, Javed Tapia, Founder, Slonkit, said

Slonkit caters to the essential yet unaddressed area of teaching financial prudence to the next generation. It engages students digitally and empowers them to learn and practice smart money management. Slonkit enables education institutions to seamlessly manage fee collection, in-campus payments, attendance, and communication with students. With DCB Bank, we will create India’s largest cashless ecosystem focussed on the education sector.

About Slonkit

Slonkit is India’s first money management app linked to a prepaid VISA card. Slonkit is powered by VISA, the world’s leading payment network and DCB Bank, India’s leading emerging private sector bank. The app is linked to a prepaid VISA card and enables teenagers and young adults to manage money smartly. Available on Android and iOS, Slonkit app can be downloaded from the Play Store or App Store. Parents of children aged 10~18 can order a Slonkit card from the app and give monthly allowances to their child. Slonkit allows parents to add money instantly on to the card through internet banking, debit card or credit card. They can set budgets for themselves using the Slonkit app, view expenses across categories, and avail a host of exciting offers.

NiYO [earlier coverage here], the new-age digital banking solutions provider for salaried employees, has launched NiYO Global Travel Card, which is the first-ever forex card with ‘zero forex mark-up’. Travelers, using this card, will not pay any currency exchange premium and international transaction fees – unlike a regular forex card.

With the NiYO Global Travel Card in her pocket, the overseas traveller will effectively have no need for the usual multi-currency forex cards or travellers’ cheques – all the while making international transactions cost-effective across 150-plus countries and 35 million merchants worldwide.

Besides the cost-effective feature, NiYO Global Card also offers instant digital on-boarding, convenient loading from the user’s bank account via NEFT/IMPS. The card is supported by a cutting-edge mobile app, which gives users the ability to lock and unlock either the full card or a payment channel anytime, anywhere in the world. The app also provides real-time notifications on usage, exchange rates and refunds, while helping users find convenient ATM locations, avail nearby offers – thus making it one of the most modern cards in the world today.

Further, business travellers can submit claims on-the-go by adding bills for each transaction right in the app. These claims can be instantaneously approved by their employer organizations via the NiYO Corporate Portal.

Vinay Bagri, Co-founder & CEO, NiYO said

The forex card market in India is worth $17 billion; around 20 million people are expected to travel abroad this year. By 2020, this number will rise to 50 million. With such a staggering number of Indians travelling abroad, we aim to capture a lion’s share of the market.

Virender Bisht, Co-founder & CTO, NiYO said

Our aim has been to facilitate hassle-free experience among our customer. Forex is one of the key components for travel and remains a concern. International travellers are always burdened with high currency exchange rate charged by banks, which varies between 1~3% of the amount transacted. Banks also charge either a flat fee or a set percentage of the transaction amount in addition to the currency exchange charge.

Moreover, people are also very worried about card security abroad. This card is a one-stop solution for all of these problems. We have invested our best effort and technology in the designing process to provide the safety feature along with other components. The card has already been reviewed and appreciated by many top executives from the India Inc. and today, we are glad to present it to our customers at large.

Founded by Vinay Bagri and Virender Bisht, NiYO works at the intersection of financial services, HR and technology. NiYO was launched in July 2015 and since then has already clocked in more than 3000 corporates and is being used by over 5 Lakh salaried employees in these organizations.

About NiYO

NiYO is a fintech startup conceptualized in 2015 that offers digital banking solutions for salaried employees across various sectors. Currently, with over 5 Lakh customers and relationships with 3000 corporates, NiYO is growing to be a truly trusted digital banking platform across India.

CASHe, India’s most preferred digital lending company for young salaried millennials, promoted by serial entrepreneur and private equity investor V. Raman Kumar, announced that it has launched a unique fund transfer facility called ‘BuddyTransfer’ for its users. With BuddyTransfer, CASHe users can now authorize to send part of their loan to up to five contacts from their phonebook.

The maximum amount that can be transferred to each contact with this facility is Rs 2,000. The company further stated that it wanted to make it easier for its users to send money to friends and family by simply choosing names from their phone contact list and authorize a money transfer directly to their bank accounts. BuddyTransfer is built on a Blockchain infrastructure which keeps the transactions safe, secure and transparent.

Here is how BuddyTransfer works

  • To use this feature, the user has to select the desired loan amount from CASHe and request for a loan.
  • The user gets an option to transfer part of his loan by choosing ‘Transfer to your Friend’ feature where he can select up to five names from his phone contact list to whom he wishes to send the money.
  • He can choose the desired amount [Maximum Rs 2,000] per contact and confirm the details in the following screen.
  • Once the loan is approved, CASHe will initiate the fund transfer on behalf of the user to the selected recipients.

The user can authorize a fund transfer to anybody in India through his phone contact list regardless of they being a CASHe user or not. If the fund transfer is initiated to a non-CASHe user, they will get a notification through SMS informing them on the impending fund transfer along with a link to download the CASHe app from the app stores. The fund transfer will be successful only if the recipient downloads the app, fills the necessary details along with his bank account information and submit the necessary KYC documents.

This feature will be particularly useful to people who need to transfer urgent cash to their family and friends. BuddyTransfer allows users to transfer money to any contact in their phonebook 24 hours a day, seven days a week. CASHe customers can transfer money to any person in India, once they download the app and register. The app is widely accessible as it works on Android and iOS operating systems.

V. Raman Kumar, Chairman, CASHe, said

CASHe has always tried to be a leader in harnessing new technologies to bring cutting-edge user experience. This is the first time that a Blockchain infrastructure is being used to facilitate actual money transfer in a fin-tech application in India. This is an industry first and an outstanding achievement for Team CASHe.

Ketan Patel, CEO, CASHe, said

Customer convenience remains central to all our efforts. We are happy to be the first amongst our peers to launch this feature for our customers on our industry-leading, cutting-edge lending platform. We listen closely to what our customers say.

Their ideas and feedback help us improve our current product offerings and help us launch future innovations. BuddyTransfer is launched in response to a growing need of our valued customer base and we are happy to offer this new feature to them. With BuddyTransfer, we look forward to further strengthening our leading position in the digital lending market in India.

CASHe provides hassle-free loans with its app enabled documentation and loan disbursal/repayment process. Powered by its industry-first algorithm driven credit scoring platform, The Social Loan Quotient [SLQ], CASHe quickly determines a user’s credit worthiness by using multiple unique data points to arrive at a distinct credit profile of the customer.

SLQ is transforming the traditional credit rating measurements thereby providing immediate loans to the under-served young professionals who are kept out by traditional credit rating and banking systems. CASHe is completely automated and requires no personal intervention and no physical documentation. The average time taken for a loan to be disbursed is about 8 minutes, subject to proper submission of all documents.

About CASHe

CASHe is India’s most preferred digital lending company for young salaried millennials. CASHe provides immediate short-term personal loans to young professionals based on their social profile, merit and earning potential using its proprietary algorithm-based machine learning platform. CASHe is completely automated and requires no personal intervention and no physical documentation. The average time taken for a loan to be disbursed is about 8 minutes, subject to proper submission of all documents. CASHe’s target audience is young working professionals in the age group of 23~35 years. CASHe offers loans from Rs 10,000 to Rs 2,00,000 payable over 15~ 180 days.

Fino Paytech, the payments technology company and promoter of Fino Payments Bank, has invested in CityCash [Tap Smart Data Information Services Private Limited], a Mumbai-based fintech start-up, for an undisclosed stake. The investment is in line with Fino’s strategy of providing banking and payments solutions to emerging India.

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The two companies have joined hands to design an ecosystem for payments wherein Fino will be the issuance and settlement institution of the prepaid payment instrument and CityCash will offer its NFC-based cashless payments technology and micro-payment merchant acquisition.

India’s public transport system of 150000 buses carries over 70 million commuters every day, clocking an annual turnover of about INR 50000 crores, of which 95% transactions happen in cash. There is a massive opportunity to digitize this sector using low cost NFC based TAP and PAY solution on the lines of highly successful Oyster card of London and Octopus card of Hong Kong. Customers can similarly use Fino and CityCash co-branded card for all retail micro-payments apart from other transport payments such as for auto and cabs.

The partnership with Fino shall bring the most extensive network of BC agents across the country to enable physical card issuance and on-going service of the customers. Some large state and city bus corporations have shown tremendous interest in the Fino and CityCash payment solution and implementation is at advanced stages.

As a part of its digital strategy to engage with customers, Fino has already launched a suite of products such as RuPay debit cards, mobile banking app BPay, UPI, Net banking and FasTag for toll payments.

These products along with NFC based tap and pay solutions would allow Fino to reach out and facilitate digital payments for a wider segment in line with Digital India initiative of the Government.