Fintech is having a huge impact on the financial services in India. It has been largely dominated by the lending and payments companies in India. Initiatives like the India Stack [UPI, e-KYC, Aadhar] by National Payments Corporation Of India [NPCI] have been instrumental in leading the Fintech revolution.

Image Source – Investments

Many of the fintech companies are leveraging Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Social Data Intelligence, Blockchain, etc. in order to solve critical business problems. For example, with the help of AI, contextual data and transaction data, your wealth managers can come up with a ‘more relevant’ financial plan that suits your requirements.

When we talk about Money, the immediate thought that comes to our minds is ‘How to I multiply wealth via good investments‘. There are significant number of investment options available in the market but the option that you choose depends on factors like your age, dependencies, exisiting investment portfolio, risk apetite, etc. One good investment option is ‘Mutual Funds‘ but as per a report, India’s Assets under management  (AUM) to GDP ratio is only 9 percent which is significantly lower as compared to other developed/developing contries. The bright side about this report is that there are rising number of people interested to invest in Mutual Funds given that they get proper hand-holding and guidance.

This is the problem that founders of WealthApp, a Fintech startup aim to solve by amalgamating their vast knowledge in personal finance with technologies like AI, Machine Learning, etc. Today we have a chat with Gaurav Dhawan, Co-founder & Director of WealthApp about WealthApp, Fintech, Personal Finance, etc.

Image Source – WealthApp

How did you come up with the idea of WealthApp ?

We are ex-bankers from Citi who have decades of experience in personal financial management of individuals across net-worth segments. We understand that while people with higher net-worth have access to good quality financial advice, the middle-income groups in India experience an acute shortage of the same. There are various estimates to suggest that about 30 crore people in India have an ability to invest, a majority of which form the entire middle-income group of the pyramid. Given this huge need gap, we wanted to put in place a solution to reach sound financial advice to the market at large. The next question on our minds was to figure a solution to bridge this gap ? One thing that we realised very soon was that we needed to use technology to reach out to a larger audience.

However, using technology is one thing – but to marry that with quality advice is a totally different ball game. We then studied the entire advisor-client interaction cycle, right from the time of first interaction to the evolution of the relationship over a long term, and broke it down into steps that we could automate. We realised that most of this engagement can be automated using algorithms. Then we started picking elements of this interaction cycle to build algorithms to automate the process – that’s how WealthApp was born. We formally launched the platform in October 2016 for public at large.

Can you please give a background about the team behind WealthApp ?

The founders consist of myself, Subba Rao Telidevara, Sanjay HB and Mitesh Shah. We have a cumulative experience of 50+ years across various forms of money management. This makes us aware that the long winding process, paper work and lack of proper guidance in investment methods puts off people as prospective investors. The team is hard at work to ensure that our platform at WealthApp overcomes all of these barriers and adds value across the personal financial life of our customers.

As per a report, there is very small percentage of investors/would be investors who plan to invest in the Equity market [or MF], how does WealthApp plan to change this ‘resistant’ behaviour from investors ?

India’s AUM to GDP ratio stands at about 9 percent. In comparison, US markets boast of an AUM to GDP ratio of  70 percent. Even if we consider the global averages, 37% is the AUM to GDP ratio. While this clearly indicates the huge potential that our country has to channelize a significantly higher proportion of an individual’s savings into efficient financial products, India has been catching up very quickly.

This is due to a variety of reasons such as increase in financial awareness of the customers, efficient evolution of the regulatory framework and technology percolation across the country. WealthApp plans to use these broader trends to reach out to people and help them join the investment bandwagon. To keep the entry barriers low for our customers, we offer investment plans with as low as Rs. 100 investment minimums. We will also add more investment products in the future that we believe our customers will be able to benefit from.

Can you please talk about the funding of WealthApp ?

WealthApp raised about USD 440,000 in seed funding in December 2016. The startup’s investors include some very marque names such as NuVentures managing partner Venk Krishnan, Daksh eServices co-founder MJ Aravind, Vikram Kotak, Managing Partner at Crest Capital and Investment, Jayant Davar, Co-chairman & MD at Sandhar Group, Ramkumar Nishtala, MD & CEO at Vistaar Finance, and Arjun Sharma, chairman of the Select Group.

Can you share some insights into the customer demographics of WealthApp ?

An extremely large part of the unexposed population resides in the tier II and III towns where people have no access to professional financial advisory. WealthApp came up with the concept of Online Robo Financial Advisor for all kinds of investors ranging from youngsters or first time investors to a family man and seasoned investor. Moreover, WealthApp’s internal survey of a few remote towns in Karnataka revealed that about 80 percent of the population there spend at least 20 percent of their income on smartphones and data usage. Rest is reserved for household expenses and cash savings.

People there are actually very tech savvy, largely on mobile phones. And contrary to our belief they have a decent appetite for investment. But most invest in chit funds and other inefficient instruments since they have no one to guide them.

Once user has created an account on WealthApp [and all his investments from various AMCs are under one window], what other services does your team provide to the investors so that they can get more returns from their investments ?

WealthApp analyses an individual’s risk appetite, need to take risk and tolerance for risk based on factors such as income, assets, savings and financial goals that one may have. After an investment is made, the app tracks and monitors the complete cycle, alerting and suggesting investors on due payment, or any change in rules. The app also updates users over the need for liquid cash and provides options to obtain it. The platform is being enhanced further to accommodate more such situations that a customer may face over an investment lifecycle.

Image Credit – YourStory

Can you give a small glimpse about the tech behind WealthApp ?

WealthApp has developed sophisticated iOS and android mobile apps to help the middle-income groups and retail investors in India simplify their financial planning and wealth management process. Sophisticated algorithms automate the entire advisory process thus ensuring top notch and timely advise for the investor. That the smaller cities and towns face data connectivity issues doesn’t deter WealthApp.

The app is built to use data efficiently. It is a light app that works on 2G bandwidth also. Currently, WealthApp’s user interface is English. There are plans to go vernacular, primarily to target the smaller towns and cities in future.

Are there any competitors of WealthApp, if so what are some of the USP’s of WealthApp vis-a-vis the competitors ?

The segment is growing as more people start looking for financial investment products to broaden their portfolio beyond traditional products such as gold and real estate. Some of the USP’s of WealthApp vis-a-vis the competitors are below:

  • Prospective Clients made investment ready via KYC in a thoroughly paperless manner with a very simple and streamlined on-boarding process
  • Sophisticated algorithms automate the entire advisory process thus ensuring top notch and timely advice for the investor
  • Knowledge and experience of the founding team work to provide customized portfolio most suited for investors and their goals based on thorough research and strategy
  • Ongoing monitoring 24/7/365
  • Supported with convenience of doorstep service offered via web and mobile apps
  • Equipped with a team of seasoned professionals for those that require the age old personal human touch

WealthApp is currently limited to MF’s, are there any plans/timeline on whether it would be expanded to cover other financial instruments ?

WealthApp Financial Advisors is an automated investment service, conceived over a year back. It makes use of its user friendly online platform to offer best in class investment portfolio to its clients. This is based on their financial goals and ability to take risk, and mutual funds offer various advantages to build customized investment portfolios. Having said that, the company plans to add more investment options in the near future.

What are some of the methodologies that your team plans in order to keep the investors hooked on to the platform [primary reason being investments are mostly planned by investors and most cases, they would not invest more unless required, unlike shopping which is more adhoc and also more repetitive and hence more stickiness.] ?

It’s our endeavour to engage our customers meaningfully while adding value to them. A slick and customized dashboard makes it convenient for them to see their investment status on the go and they keep coming back to it often to review their portfolios. They like the fact that we don’t use jargon and provide them all the information that they need in an easy to understand manner.

We also write articles and blogs frequently on topics that are of high relevance to our customers. Again, simplicity of conveying the messafge is the key so they keep coming back to read up and make themselves more knowledgeable on areas of personal finance. Our customers also appreciate the value in our periodic automated reports that reach their mailboxes.

There are various investor initiatives like #MFDayon7th by Reliance MF and CNBC TV18, does WealthApp have plans of starting an investor education initiative [or something else] in order to widen the horizon of passive investors [that could be an integral part of the investors eco-system, but dont know where to get started] ?

WealthApp has been at the forefront of customer education right from the start. We have conducted more than 50 roadshows [in metro cities and beyond] till date to spread awareness and provide simple solutions to people’s money problems.

Our platform is coded with complex algorithms by our engineering team and they have kept it up to date with the ongoing developments in the policies and reforms in our economy. The idea is to reduce the human intervention while we interact with our customers and be fully transparent.

With growing investor and entrepreneur interest in Fintech, many wallet companies like Paytm, FreeCharge, MobiKwik, etc. are plannig to have a boutique of finance products on their platform, does this growing competition have an impact on a startup like WealthApp and how it could result in expansion of the fintech ecosystem ?

Since the evolution of technology and start-up boom, Indian economy has been a huge market place for various types of businesses. Every entrant in the start-up space has been looking at diversifications based on their growth and funding options available around them. Also with the growing economy and huge population, fintech ecosystem has so much potential yet to be unlocked.

At WealthApp, the team comes with a tremendous domain knowledge and experience in the financial sector. We are glued on to the ongoing actions and want to be the best in the market with providing right products and offerings with a remarkable customer service. The market looks extremely responsive for WealthApp at the moment and we would like to be focused on our current service offerings instead of diversifying into many portfolios at this point of time. Currently, WealthApp deals only with mutual fund portfolios because MFs are very well regulated, are very difficult to understand, and the seed money requirement is very less.

You mentioned earlier that there is a growing demand of products like WealthApp in tier-2, tier-3 cities [and beyond], what are some of the marketing initiatives that your team has taken in order to penetrate into that particular market ?

The tier 2 towns and beyond is where the potential lies untapped. The revolution in technology and touch of power has reduced the distance between both the worlds. It has digitally enabled the end customer to gain access to the knowledge and information today. This has opened up new dimensions for them to look into new avenues of investment options.

It has created inroads for WealthApp to proceed further and we are equipped with sound knowledge on the subject. We have created a team of experts who reach out to the end customers in these markets, helping them in communicating the knowledge on investments, building portfolios and managing them. We have been working with the target audience in various parts of the country.

Along with the integrated AMC approach, building investor porfolio as per his requirements, etc. your team also provides advisory services to your customers. Are these services charged and how has been the customer response to these services [since none of the finance platform provides such tailor-made services] ?

At WealthApp, the platform is equipped to build a persona of the customer on its platform and provide advisory recommendations for investments. The automated investment service has been kept free of cost while some specific value added serives are being developed that may be on a chargeable basis. Market response to our platform has been terrific so far and we are extremely encouraged to serve our customers in the best possible manner.

What is the revenue model of WealthApp and does it follow the Freemium model ?

WealthApp does not charge its customers for the automated investment service platform. It charges the fund houses a small fee. There are a number of tools and products in various stages of development and testing that may be used by the customer for a fee.

Are there are any RBI guidelines regulating the app based businesses [P2P, Line Of Credit, etc] in India or to put it the other way round, is there a requirement to regulate them ?

The app is a channel to reach out to people conveniently. The entire advisory on our platform are fully regulated by SEBI while the payments are governed with the rules laid out by the RBI.

2016 was a tough year for startups [especially from funding point of view], how according to you should entrepreneurs deal with such adverse situations ?

Having recognized a real need gap in the market and put in place a solution that adds real value to the customer, what remains critical for an entrepreneur to tide over such times is an ability to evolve as they learn alongside persevering.

After demonetization, there has been a huge demand for payment apps [including UPI], wallet providers providing investment options like Digital Gold, etc. do you see that trend working in favour of apps like WealthApp [that makes an investor’s life smoother] ?

Absolutely. As more and more people become aware of digital platforms and become comfortable using them, it helps us explain the delivery mechanism of our service to our customers in a more contextual fashion.

As per your entrepreneurial experience, when should an entrepreneur look out for external funding ?

A couple of common circumstances when one should seek external funding could include situations when you either need funds to build/improvise your product/service or when your own revenues are not sufficient to sustain growth.

Some books that you highly recommend for entrepreneurs

Some of my recent reads that I recommend  for entrepreneurs are Shoe dog by Phil Knight, Predictably irrational by Dan Ariely and The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly.

Some closing thoughts for our readers!

Effective financial management is key to meeting various life goals. This could include various aspects of our lives such as savings, expenses, investments, budgeting et al. To do any or all of this, one should seek the help of qualified financial experts to guide them through the process.

Choosing the right financial advisor is key and you must ask all questions that you need answered to make a well-informed decision. Keep in mind that the amount of wealth that we build is less a function of our income and more a function of our savings rate. And while they say money can’t buy happiness, I beg you to reconsider.

We thank Gaurav Dhawan for sharing his insights with our readers. If you are planning to put your money to work via smart investments, then you should download WealthApp. If you have any questions for Gaurav or the WealthApp Team, please email them here or share them via a comment to this article.

Fin-tech is having a huge impact on the financial services in India. It has been largely dominated by the lending and payments companies in India. Initiatives like the India Stack [UPI, e-KYC, Aadhar] by National Payments Corporation Of India [NPCI] have been instrumental in leading the Fin-tech revolution.

Image Source – Fin-tech

There are several companies in the Fin-tech sector that have innovative business models in the areas like Wealth Management [WealthApp], Digital Payments & other services [Paytm, Freecharge, etc.], Payment Banks [Paytm, Airtel, FINO], P2P Lending [i2iFunding, Lendbox, i-lend, etc.], Personal Finance Services [BankBazaar, Capital Float, etc.], Alternate/Unsecured Lending [Qbera, Loan Frame, etc.], Lending based on Credit-Line [MoneyTap], etc. Many of the fin-tech companies are leveraging Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Social Data Intelligence, Blockchain, etc. in order to solve critical business problems. For example, with the help of AI, contextual data and transaction data, your wealth managers can now come up with a ‘more relevant’ financial plan that suits your requirements.

With the rising interest in fin-tech, there is a constant debate on whether Fin-tech would kill banks, but the fact of the matter is that mainstream financial institutions are also embracing change by inking partnerships with these players in order to utilize their services. Even after eKYC, there are significant challenges [that add up to delay] in customer onboarding, a problem that is being solved by few fin-tech start-ups. There is been a rising investor interest in this sector, with fin-tech topping the funding charts of H1 2017. Traditional banking institutions are utilizing this opportunity to co-create innovative solutions with entrepreneurs for building breakthrough banking products and solutions.

Last July, Axis Bank launched its flagship Accelerator Program for start-ups, the very first Indian Bank to do so. The program is run from Thought Factory, Axis Bank’s co-innovation Lab, which is located in the city of Bengaluru. Axis Bank has partnered with Amazon Internet Services, Payments product company VISA and Singapore based Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation for co-innovating in the rapidly evolving fin-tech space. The core ideology of the lab is #UnimaginedIsUndone. The ThinkTank for Thought Factory comprises of thought leaders, change agents, serial entrepreneurs, namely Sharad Sharma of iSpirit, Manish Chokhani of Enam Holdings, Vishal Gondal of GoQii & Shankar Narayan, a Singapore based serial entrepreneur along with Axis Bank Senior Management that guides the Thought Factory team in its various functions.

Over the past year, Thought Factory has been a major Fin-Tech ecosystem enabler in Bengaluru, hosting multiple events, workshops, international visitors and other corporate clients; thereby enhancing industry-start-up collaboration.

For the first cohort of its Accelerator Program, Axis Bank’s Think Tank, from an application pool of 108, selected six emerging start-ups. Once on-boarded, the start-ups were given a structured mentorship program and access to Axis Bank’s Thought Factory office space. Axis Bank’s aim behind the program was to expedite the overall growth of these emerging start-ups along with exploring novel banking ideas with them. Axis Bank celebrated the Graduation Day of the first cohort start-ups, namely S2Pay, Pally, Perpule, Fin-techLabs, Paymatrix and GIEOM. All these start-ups target different business problems in the areas of Offline mobile payments, Analytics in lending space, Credit in rental space, etc.

Startups pitching their idea to the audience at the Thought Factory

Below are the startups that graduated from the Thought Factory

S2Pay: Enabling Offline mobile Payments [Category – Payments]

S2Pay forms a layer over payments app and enables the end consumer to make secure payments from their mobile app, even when the consumer is offline. The technology is especially useful in remote areas where there is low data connectivity thus making digital payments a reality for everyone. For more information, please visit S2Pay

Pally: AI Stack based Chatbot for Investment Advisory [Category – Investments]

Pally has created a chatbot that on the input of an image of salary slip creates an investment portfolio which maximizes tax saving for the end customer. It uses AI, Machine learning along with other proprietary algorithms to come up with a customized investment plan for each customer. Pally was also selected for the EIR program at KStart. For more information, please visit Pally

Perpule: Self-checkout on mobile app [Category – Payments]

Perpule’s app lets end customers scan the shopped products from their mobile app, and pay from within the app once the list is complete. Perpule integrates with retailer’s campaigns, thus automatically applies discounts/offers on the go. It has partnered with stores like Hypercity, More, Spar etc. For more information, please visit Perpule 1Pay

Fin-techLabs: Analytics in lending [Category – Lending]

Fin-techLabs is a financial technology innovation start-up, with a vision of providing easy access to financing across the world by powering the lending ecosystem with technology. They make the lending process swift and optimized by automating repetitive management tasks like sending emails, managing files, preparing reports, complying with regulations, etc. For more information, please visit Fin-techLabs

Paymatrix: Credit in rental space [Category – Real Estate, Payments, Credit Cards, Liabilities]

Paymatrix is an analytics-driven property rent management platform that is trying to solve the problem of credit involved in Indian rental market via enabling payments to land lords via credit cards. They also help landlords in rent/property management. For more information, please visit Paymatrix

GIEOM: Software solutions on the Cloud [Category – Analytics]

GIEOM is a cloud based software solutions and analytics company. They offer a unique business visualization technology with Intelligent linking that monitors, controls and optimizes Operations while reducing risk and increasing compliance. For more information, please visit GIEOM

The past six months have been very eventful for the start-ups, Perpule won the semifinal round of Next Money Fin-techFinals 2017 and raised a seed funding of USD 650K from Kalaari Capital, S2Pay and GIEOM on-boarded multiple new clients, Fin-techLabs and Paymatrix expanded their services portfolio while Pally evolved in its product idea and expanded its team.

We were invited for the Graduation Day at the Thought Factory, where we pitched some questions to Rajiv Anand, Executive Director of Axis Bank. Below is the brief Q&A round he had with the media/bloggers where he shares his insights about the Thought Factory, impact it has on the fin-tech eco-system, etc.

Axis Bank has always been keen on adoption of technology in its systems and solutions. Besides the Accelerator start-ups, Axis Bank along with the Thought Factory team has been working with other upcoming start-ups too. With Active AI [a Singapore based start-up specializing in AI stack], Bank is building a chatbot that can take banking & customer service to the next level.

Axis Bank’s innovation team is working on recruitment of start-ups for the second cohort of the Accelerator. For a much quicker implementation, Axis Bank is also developing a Development Platform – a sandbox environment of its APIs, which can be used by start-ups.

Additionally, they also conduct a start-up boot camp, a two-month program for grad start-up ideas under its ‘Future of Jobs’ initiative where five student teams of two members each will receive mentorship to convert their ideas into real businesses.

To know more about the Thought Factory Program, its structure etc., drop a mail to thoughtfactory@axisbank.com or visit Thought Factory

MoneyTap [Earlier coverage – MoneyTap review, Q&A with Bala Parthasarthy], India’s first App-Based Credit Line is now available in Kannada for the people of Bengaluru. MoneyTap, which is offered in partnership with banks, enables consumers to get instant credit from partner banks at the tap of a button on the app. The App was launched in English last year and since then has already issued close to 20 crore in credit in Bengaluru alone. The company is also planning to launch the app in Hindi and Telugu soon.

Largely focusing on the vastly untapped Kannada speaking users, the app will allow Bengalureans to avail up to INR 5 lakhs through an easy eligibility process. The company is enthusiastic about their plans to tap into the local market. According to the 2011 Census, Bengaluru’s population is over 10 million and 71% of the population speaks Kannada.

MoneyTap is available on Android Playstore and is targeted at salaried individuals and self-employed professionals earning more than INR 20,000 per month. MoneyTap evaluates the user’s eligibility in less than 4 minutes after which it provides an instant, real-time decision on the application along with the amount they are eligible for.

Using the credit line, consumers can choose to borrow as little as INR 3000 or as much as INR 5 lakhs or up to their maximum eligibility limit. Customers can decide their own EMI plans with flexible payback periods ranging from 2 months to 3 years. Interest is paid only on the amount borrowed and rates can be as low as 1.25% per month. If the user does not borrow any amount, then no interest needs to be paid. The credit limit also gets topped up once EMIs are paid back.

MoneyTap along with RBL Bank is able to provide its customers, instant decisions and instant access to money, 24/7. All financial transactions such as billing and repayment are directly dealt with the bank but through the MoneyTap App using secure APIs, thus ensuring 100% secure transactions. As an added convenience for shopping needs, a MoneyTap RBL Credit Card is also provided for the user. This is a regular MasterCard Credit Card that is accepted at all locations and for all card purchases – offline and online.

The Bengaluru-based startup recently raised a total of $12.3 million in funding from Sequoia India, NEA & Prime Venture Partners. The credit line is offered in 14 cities across India and the company plans to expand to 50 cities in India by the end of 2017.

Anuj Kacker, Co-Founder, MoneyTap said

We are very enthusiastic about launching our app in Kannada. Bengaluru is one of our biggest markets. Our aim is to reduce the hassles of obtaining credit from banks and in many cases, the paperwork and verification process can delay the process by months. From small business owners to salaried professionals, all require credit at some stage in their life and we want to ensure that credit is available to them whenever they need it, on a tap!

About MoneyTap

MoneyTap is a Bengaluru-based fintech startup, founded by serial entrepreneurs Bala Parthasarathy, Anuj Kacker & Kunal Varma, who are IIT/ISB alumni. Bala has co-founded multiple startups in Silicon Valley including Snapfish (sold to Hewlett Packard), which he helped grow to 100M users and $300M in revenue. After moving to India in 2007, he volunteered for UIDAI under Mr. Nandan Nilekani before starting AngelPrime in 2011 (now Prime Venture Partners) where he helped create companies like ZipDial (sold to Twitter), EZETap, Happay, etc. Kunal (ex Texas Instruments) & Anuj (ex Airtel & JWT) co-founded Tapstart that grew to 300K users and turned profitable in 2 years. MoneyTap works in very close partnerships with various banks and other financial institutions to make the process painless and on-app. For more details, please visit MoneyTap

Earlier on this blog, we have reviewed a couple of Investment Plans, Stocks, etc. and so far we have received encouraging comments. Many of the readers touch based over Facebook and informed us that they have invested in one of the stocks that we have reviewed & have yielded excellent returns! Such news motivates us to write more about Finance 🙂

Image Source – Buy Trade Sell

When it comes to investing, we take precautionary steps like reading review about investment plan/stock/insurance online, consult known experts in the domain, consult known people who have already invested in the same, etc. However, the problem is that there is a plethora of information available online that can really confuse an investor. Same is the case with investing in stocks.

Way back in the late-1990’s or early-2000’s, investors were heavily reliant on the brokers or sub-brokers that were present in their locality. They had a good amount of information about the markets, stocks, etc. and could guide investors in person as well. However, once the technology became a key player in the complex field of investments and stock trading, traditional brokerage houses like Indiabulls, ICICI Direct, ShareKhan, etc. became the torch-bearers of this change. A majority of these brokers, also known as full-service brokers used to charge a certain percentage from the trade amount. Fast forward now, with the evolution of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data and other modern technologies, the brokerage space is also disrupted by new-age fintech startups as well as established financial institutions.

There are a number of trading platforms from the likes of Zerodha, ICICI Direct, India Infoline, Edelweiss, Angel Broking, etc. and each of them has various types of Trading accounts [Standard, Prepaid], different brokerage charges, transaction charges, demat account charges. When it comes to trading, brokerage fees, website usability, yearly maintenance fees, etc. play a vital role in the growth of the platform and customer retention. We have a look at some of the trading platforms available for investors from the perspective of account opening & maintenance charges, brokerage fees, fees of stock delivery, intraday trading, etc.

Note: Review based on usage, interaction with existing users of these trading accounts, research, and other parameters.

Angel Broking

Angel Broking is one of the oldest brokerage companies in the country. It is operational since 1987. They have a PAN India presence and along with technology enabled DEMAT & Trading account, they also provide offline services where investors can place orders via a phone call or by visiting their sub-brokers facility.

Account Opening Charges: No account opening charges. You can start trading in one hour.
Yearly maintenance charges: No charges levied for the first year.

Brokerage features and charges

  • Access to all market segments of BSE, NSE, MCX & NCDEX
  • Weekly research reports from financial experts
  • Supports both browser and app-based trading. Platform is available across mobile, tablet and desktop
  • Personalized customer support
  • Different brokerage plans Angel Classic, Angel Preferred, Angel Elite & Angel Premium available for a different set of investors. Further details can be found here
Source – Angel Broking

Intraday Trading: Intraday trading, as the name suggests, is trading stocks within trading hours in a single day and investors can do intraday trading on Angel Broking platform. More details about Intraday Trading on Angel Broking can be found here

5paisa.com

5paisa.com provides a single account for all your investments. They charge a flat rate of Rs. 10 per order irrespective of the segment you trade or the value of your trade. They charge Rs. 750 as account opening fees and the annual fees [for Demat and Trading account] is Rs. 400.

Brokerage features and charges

  • Access to all market segments of BSE, NSE, MCX & NCDEX
  • Weekly research reports from financial experts
  • Trading platform accessible across mobile, tablet and desktop
  • Personalized customer support

Further details about the pricing can be found here

Zerodha

Zerodha is a Bengaluru based bootstrapped startup that has pioneered the concept of discount brokerage. With Zerodha, an investor can open an account instantly and start trading. They are also called as Flat Fee Share Broker since they charge Rs. 20 or 0.01% [whichever is lower] per executed order on intraday trades across equity, currency, and commodity trades across NSE, BSE, and MCX. They do not have any minimum brokerage.

Brokerage features and charges

  • Access to all market segments of BSE, NSE, MCX, MCDEX, Mutual Funds, etc.
  • All your equity delivery investments [NSE, BSE], absolutely free
  • Trading platform accessible across mobile, tablet and desktop
  • Customer support via email, phone, and chat

More details about the pricing can be found here

Source – Zerodha

ICICI Direct

ICICI Direct from ICICI is an old and preferred broker due to its brand image. The 3-in-1 trading account gives you the convenience of opening a demat account, trading account as well as a bank account all in one go. The demat account is linked with your trading and bank accounts.

You can earn an interest of 4% on the allocated unutilized amount for trading. They have more than 150 branches which means that their services are accessible both online as well as offline. Yearly maintenance charge is Rs. 600.

Brokerage features and charges

  • Access to all market segments of BSE, NSE, MCX, MCDEX, Mutual Funds, etc.
  • Brokerage includes DP charges of higher of 0.04% or Rs. 25 every time shares are debited from your demat account
  • Trading platform accessible across mobile, tablet and desktop
  • There is call and trade facility

More details about ICICI Direct brokerage plans [Server Plan, Secure Plan & Prepaid Brokerage Plan]  can be found here

Source – ICICIDirect

UpStox

UpStox by RKSV is another popular discount broker like Zerodha. Its trading platform Upstox Pro offers zero brokerage on stock investments. With Upstox, investors can create a custom watchlist of their favorite stocks. Upstox is backed by top investors namely Ratan Tata, Kalaari Capital & GVK Davix

Brokerage features and charges

  • Access to all market segments of BSE, NSE, MCX, MCDEX
  • Free delivery trades. Only Rs. 20 per trade brokerage
  • Trading platform accessible across mobile, tablet and desktop

Further details about UpStox Pro pricing can be found here

Source – UpStox

ShareKhan

Just like ICICI Direct, ShareKhan is one of the oldest brokerage companies in India. It was acquired by BNP Paribas in 2015. There are no account opening charges but there is a yearly maintenance charge of Rs. 500.

Brokerage features and charges

  • Access to all market segments of BSE, NSE, MCX & NCDEX
  • Trading platform accessible across different devices
  • Detailed trading reports from financial experts
Source – ShareKhan

Edelweiss Broking

Edelweiss Financial Services Limited is a diversified financial services group. The firm has five major businesses, namely Capital Markets, Credit, Asset Management, Life Insurance, and Commodities. Its main focus is on credit. Edelweiss Broking was founded in the year 1995. They have different brokerage plans for different kind of investors.

Account Opening Charges: Rs. 750 is charged as opening a trading account
Yearly maintenance charges: Free for the first year, Rs. 500 for the subsequent years
Intraday Cash & Equity Futures: 0.06% [Plan 1] and 0.04% [Plan 2]

Brokerage features and charges

  • Access to all the market segments of BSE, NSE, MCX & NCDEX
  • Weekly research reports from financial experts with access to various finance Edelweiss platforms that solve deep-rooted customer pain-points
  • Accessible across web, mobile, and tablet
Source – Edelweiss Broking

Solving Investor’s Pain Points

Though there are so many trading and brokerage platforms, the real pain-point that investors/stock market traders face is that most of these platforms provide detailed analysis on stocks but all the features required by investors do not exist on a single platform, some of which are mentioned below:

Market information in a single view: Due to the huge amount of ‘scattered’ information available online, it becomes painful for traders/investors to perform ‘meaningful’ research of a particular sector or stock. For example, I use MoneyControl app to keep myself updated about the happenings in different sectors. There is no single platform that gives such kind of granular information.

In-depth Technical Analysis: In addition to the point mentioned above, there is a dearth of trading/investment platforms that also cater to technical and sentiment analysis of the market. This is a gap that needs to be filled for the investor community.

Trading Execution: When an investor is trading, he executes trades from the broker’s website [examples mentioned earlier] but the broker’s terminal is entirely different. This delay might cost dearly to the trader. Hence, when it comes to trading, execution is of top-notch priority.

There was a requirement for a trading platform that could solve these problems for the investor community so that even novice investors in future can become seasoned investors. This is the problem that financial firm Edelweiss wants to solve via Edelweiss Traders Lounge. Let’s have a look at the features of Edelweiss Web and Edelweiss Traders Lounge.

Broker’s terminal like experience: Though traders would access this platform via the web, the look & feel is similar to the broker’s terminal. The terminal supports customizable shortcuts so that you can trade faster than ever before.

Customizable watch-list combined with the power of data: In one single window, investors can get a wholesome view of the stocks that they have invested and the stocks that are on their watch-list. As mentioned earlier, the real power lies in presenting a holistic view to the traders and that is what Edelweiss Traders Lounge solves with the watch-list. It provides you with stock performance with real-time filtering & analytical parameters i.e. Sentiments, Events, Technical Alerts, etc.

Useful information in a single-view: As mentioned earlier, investors have to scout for meaningful information like company performance, changes [if any] to the RBI monetary policy, sector performance, impact of the global economy on the stock market, etc. available on the internet and it might result in a never ending process. Edelweiss Traders Lounge solves this problem by using the power of Data Analytics.

It provides Charting, Broker calls, News/Corporate Announcements/Events, Sector-wise performance, Live OI build-up, Moving averages, etc. in a single window so that you can Buy/Sell a stock after having in-depth information about that sector and the stock.

News sentiments, Broker Recommendations and Health Indicator: When it comes to investing in the stock market, it becomes primarily important to study the sector and also how various stocks are performing in that sector. With the ‘Peer Comparison‘ feature, you can compare the performance of the stocks that belong to a similar sector. With Edelweiss Traders Lounge, there is a deep level of sentiment analysis that gets done on the latest news on equities, currency & global markets, so that as an investor you can analyze the sentiment attached to the news. The expert opinions along with the sentiment analysis play a crucial role in impacting your ‘Buy/Sell behavior’.

Edelweiss is the only platform that provides in-depth information about the stocks, financial information, technical graphs/charts, detailed news related to stocks and more. This enables the investor to analyze, identify and trade on the same platform. Along with these features, the platform also gives whether a particular stock is listed as BUY [Green in color] or SELL [Red in Color] by the broker community.

If you are a heavy-duty trader and looking for an efficient desktop trading software then you should look no further than Edelweiss Xtreme Trader. It is a terminal based trading platform that is loosely based on Edelweiss Traders Lounge. The interface is highly customizable and can be changed to suit your requirements. The tool has advanced charting tools so that you can track the performance of your stocks.

The tool also has SMS and email alerts that can be customized as per the sector that you have opted for. Xtreme Trader ensures that the research calls are flashed instantly on your screen, the moment research team generates so that you do not miss out on any trading opportunity.

When it comes to brokerage charges, exchanges that are enabled, account opening costs, etc. Edelweiss Trading scores lesser than Zerodha but significantly higher than ShareKhan. However, from a usability perspective, Edelweiss trading platform scores significantly higher than the other trading platforms! The trading platform from #Edelweiss facilitates #EasyTrading, a requirement which is the need of the growing investor community!

What is the brokerage platform you use for trading, please leave the message in the comments section…

Mastercard announced the list of new startups joining the Mastercard Start Path Programthe company’s global effort to support later-stage fintech and tech companies shaping the future of commerce. Of the six startups, three hail from the Asia Pacific region including ftcash [India], ToneTag [India] and CardUp [Singapore].

As India moves ahead in its journey to a less-cash society, both ftcash and ToneTag will offer platforms that enable consumers & merchants to adopt digital payment solutions. With the significant growth in smartphone penetration, the innovation from the two startups fits into the larger ecosystem.  ToneTag, will allow convenient and secure payment solutions using soundwaves [Tone] or NFC [Tag] technology to enable contactless payments through mobile devices.

On the other hand, ftcash has focused on building the acceptance infrastructure with its solutions for micro-merchants and entrepreneurs that enable them to accept different modes of digital payments.

Porush Singh, Country Corporate Officer, South Asia, Mastercard said

The Mastercard Start PathProgram helps innovative later-stage startups develop the next generation of commerce solutions. We are happy to announce that two Indianstartups ftcash and ToneTag are joining this year’s edition of the programMastercard will offer them the technology with reliable and secure financial networks to create an even more rewarding and seamless payments experience for the consumers.

Spanning five countries across the globe, the newest class is focused on bridging the gap between physical and digital retail through a variety of solutions. Several of the selected startups are harnessing insights from in-store traffic patterns and spending habits to create personalized experiences for customers. Others are helping merchants accept payments through SMS messaging systems and bill-paying platforms for large expenses that historically could not be paid using a card.

The latest wave of Start Path participants include:

  • CardUp manages monthly credit card payments for big ticket items such as rent or insurance, while also accessing credit and earning additional rewards.
  • ftcash enables micro-merchants and entrepreneurs to take collateral-free business loans and accept mobile app and messaging-based payments from their customers.
  • ToneTag enables contactless payments on any device using soundwaves or NFC.
  • The ModoPayments platform enables new ways to pay, including the use of loyalty points to buy everyday goods in-store.
  • Movvo provides insights on in-store browsing and shopping patterns.
  • RecommenderX develops cutting-edge data analytics to offer personalized recommendations.

The Start Path team will work with the selected startups against a tailored plan that will deliver tangible value and help these companies to scale. The startups will receive access to Mastercard experts, partners and customers representing leading banks and retailers in all regions of the globe to enable their business development.

Applications for the next six-month virtual program will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 1, 2017. The program is open to startups who are rethinking banking, payments and commerce and have raised a significant seed or Series A round of investment. Interested startups can visit StartPath for additional information and to submit an application.

About Mastercard Start Path

Mastercard Start Path is a global effort to support innovative startups developing the next generation of commerce solutions today. Start Pathwas launched in 2014 with an objective to help startups to grow their businesses faster than they could by themselves. Startups that join the program can benefit from the knowledge of a global network of Mastercard experts, access to Mastercard customers and partners, and the ability to innovate on top of Mastercard solutions. Mastercard customers that join the program as partners get connected to the best and brightest startups and gain access to innovations from across the globe. For more information visit www.startpath.com or follow MastercardStart Path on Twitter at @MAstartpath.

Fintech startup MoneyTap [Earlier coverage – MoneyTap review, Q&A with Bala Parthasarthy] has raised a total of USD 12.3 million in funding to drive the continued expansion of its app-based consumer credit line in India. The investment was led by Sequoia India and supported by existing investors, NEA and Prime Venture Partners.

As a testament to its continued popularity among its users, MoneyTap is on target to issue credit lines worth INR 300 crores by the end of the current fiscal year. With this fresh funding, MoneyTap plans to solidify its leadership position by improving credit accessibility for other segments of customers, partnering with 6 other Banks and NBFCs and expanding to 50 cities in India by the end of 2017.

Since its launch in September 2016, India’s first app-based consumer credit line has attracted over three hundred thousand [300k] users. The majority of users have a monthly income of INR 30,000~40,000 and are aged between 28~32 years.

The Indian consumer finance market is estimated to grow at a compounded growth rate of 18 percent to become a USD 1.2 trillion opportunity by 2020. Reports also suggest that it is also one of the most underpenetrated markets for lending, with close to 70% of the population being underserved by institutional lenders. Penetration of unsecured personal loans has been extremely poor in India with the organized credit presence at around 1% in the country.

According to RBI data of August 2016, in a country of 1.2 billion Indians, only 26.4 million have credit cards. Comparatively, there are about 600 million active mobile phones in India and mobile banking transactions rose from Rs 4,185 billion in 2012 to Rs 5,243 billion in October 2016. All this data points out to the fact that consumer-lending startups such as MoneyTap, supported by financial institutions, can serve a huge creditworthy but financially excluded customer base previously overlooked by the lending businesses.

MoneyTap is available on Android Playstore and is targeted at salaried individuals and self-employed professionals earning more than INR 20,000 per month. MoneyTap evaluates the user’s eligibility in less than 4 minutes after which it provides an instant, real-time decision on the application along with the amount they are eligible for. Using the credit line, consumers can choose to borrow as little as INR 3000 or as much as INR 5 lakhs or up to their maximum eligibility limit. Customers can decide their own EMI plans with flexible payback periods ranging from 2 months to 3 years. Interest is paid only on the amount borrowed and rates can be as low as 1.25% per month. If the user does not borrow any amount, then no interest needs to be paid. The credit limit also gets topped up once EMIs are paid back.

MoneyTap along with RBL Bank is able to provide its customers, instant decisions and instant access to money, 24/7. All financial transactions such as billing and repayment are directly dealt with the bank but through the MoneyTap App using secure APIs, thus ensuring 100% secure transactions.

Bala Parthasarathy, Co-founder, MoneyTap said

These are exciting times at MoneyTap. We deeply believe that the rapidly growing middle-income group in India is largely underserved by financial institutions. They are app-savvy and very demanding. We have been fortunate to partner with Sequoia, NEA & Prime – all of whom are top tier investors with deep fintech and operational expertise to take us to the next level.

Abheek Anand, Principal, Sequoia Capital India Advisors said

Consumer credit in India is highly under-penetrated and is a complex problem to solve. MoneyTap combines an experienced team with a thoughtfully designed product – and their strong early traction is a testament to the efficacy of their approach to address this massive market opportunity.

Ruchir Lahoty, Managing Director, NEA India said

MoneyTap is using the power of technology to provide a seamless lending experience to what currently is a largely broken discovery process with long execution timelines for consumers. Also, MoneyTap works with banks & NBFCs instead of competing with them therefore getting access to large amount of lending capital while managing the consumer journey throughout the lending lifecycle.

Shripati Acharya, Managing Partner, Prime Venture Partners said

MoneyTap’s strong growth since its inception is testament to both the innovative nature as well as rapid consumer adoption of their solution which addresses a monster opportunity – providing effortless credit to worthy consumers entirely through an app. We are privileged to be associated with this stellar team from the start of their journey and be part of their vision to reinvent the unsecured consumer lending landscape.

About MoneyTap

MoneyTap is a Bengaluru-based fintech startup, founded by serial entrepreneurs Bala Parthasarathy, Anuj Kacker & Kunal Varma, who are IIT/ISB alumni. Bala has co-founded multiple startups in Silicon Valley including Snapfish (sold to Hewlett Packard), which he helped grow to 100M users and $300M in revenue. After moving to India in 2007, he volunteered for UIDAI under Mr. Nandan Nilekani before starting AngelPrime in 2011 (now Prime Venture Partners) where he helped create companies like ZipDial (sold to Twitter), EZETap, Happay, etc. Kunal (ex Texas Instruments) & Anuj (ex Airtel & JWT) co-founded Tapstart that grew to 300K users and turned profitable in 2 years. MoneyTap works in very close partnerships with various banks and other financial institutions to make the process painless and on-app. For more details, please visit MoneyTap

Millennipreneurs are basically the generation of young entrepreneurs that are born in the year 1980~1995.  According to the statistics, most of them came from a family with a background in business where they probably get their capital finance.  At least 78% of the Millennipreneurs have ‘baby boomer’ parents who run a successful venture.  This means that they basically grew up in the kind of environment that is designed for this industry. The success that most Millennipreneurs enjoy at their young age is undeniable. Based on the gross profit, the millennial entrepreneurs’ target is around 32.6% compared to the baby boomers that is just 27.5%.  This means that the millennials are now outperforming their parents.

How Business Loans Can Support the Millennipreneurs on the Business Venture

It may be true that more than 70% of the millennial entrepreneurs have background in the business.  But it does not instantly mean that they have a starting capital for start-up.  In addition, in order to support the growing demand and expansion of their business, they will also require additional funding. Most of them start in the SME industry that generates the average amount of profit.  In India, at least 12.5% of them are in the retail industry, 8.5% are offering their professional expertise and only 7.3% in the IT industry. To help them propel their business into new heights, MSME Loans can definitely help them.

When choosing a platform that can support the Millennipreneurs in expanding their reach, there are different companies in the industry that are offering business loans.  However, not all of them will provide you with a fair agreement, competitive bid, great loan structure, and fast approval.  These factors are all essential for the millennial entrepreneurs.  They love opening new businesses, and they want a platform that can support them quickly.  At least 60% of them decided to open new business since there are not enough jobs available.   Millennipreneurs who are looking for those desirable attributes may find Loan Frame as a worthy candidate.

Quick Approval

Most of the Millennipreneurs started at their young age.  They do not necessarily have the right amount of resources to support their start-up.  Though most of them grew up in the business environment, the only thing that they can expect would be business advice from their parents and other corporate professionals.  This generation is eager to start their venture, and they want a financing option that can provide them support in an instant.  With Loan Frame, they can check your eligibility in applying for business loans for as little as 60 seconds.  It also does not involve a lot of paper works.

A Loan Option That Focus on the Core of Your Business

Instead of managing their wealth, most of the Millennipreneurs in India are also focusing on the core of their business, and they also want a partner who looks at their business the same way they do.  According to the recent survey, at least 20% of their resources are being invested on the original core of their business.  Loan Frame will offer you business loans that will match the nature of your business and will provide you with a huge selection of loans that will match your business needs.

Millennipreneurs managed to crack the purchasing habit of the millennials. They hold a significant influence in this business.  To help them advance their business and conquer new heights, business loans offered by Loan Frame is designed to address their needs.

Further, given the general under-penetration of banking services in India, it is no surprise that Alternative Lending channels are making inroads. This has been further given push through various initiatives of the government increase financial inclusion and financial penetration.

The Indian landscape is ripe for Alternative Lending to thrive in all its forms including online NBFCs, Loan Marketplaces, P2P platforms, and others. Consider the numbers placed before Rajya Sabha, RBI had informed that gross outstanding credit for top ten corporate groups is Rs 5,73,682 crore as on March 2016. This compares with the total credit to the MSME segment of Rs 11,10,000 crores spread across 2.06 crore loan accounts as on March 2016.

This is all that formal banking channels have on offer for 5.1 crore enterprises providing employment to 11.71 crore persons and contributing 37.5% of India’s GDP! Moreover, the 4th All India survey of MSMEs states that close to 90% of MSMEs are dependent on informal sources, which are mostly in the form of unsecured loans and are at higher cost.

Following are a few benefits you reap by approaching an Alternative Lending source

The Loan Buffett vs. The Fixed Menu

Everyone is familiar with the plain vanilla loans available from banks viz business loans, loan against property, secured project loans. Banks also have a defined policy for calculating eligibility a well as setting the interest rates for the loans. With the advent of technology, , alternative lending options are also available for small business owners. This includes e-commerce Merchant Cash Advances, Unsecured Business Loans, Seasonal Working Capital Financing, Various Forms of Short-Term Funding, Equipment Loans and Business Line of Credit. Loan Frame, for example, has more than 50 products in its marketplace suite. This wide range also goes well beyond being just an eye-pleasing variety. A small business can choose the specific loan based on the desired utilization objective, thus increasing chances of approval and also giving an optimum rate of interest suiting the requirements.

Tailored Approach vs. Off-the-shelf Loans

Traditional banks follow strict & inflexible credit policies that are replicated across products and borrowers. More often than not, these are relevant for larger, more established borrowers and end up complicating the applications by smaller businesses. The SME owner comes across redundant documentation requirements, unreal covenant expectations and needless scrutiny that invariably leads to either rejection or a higher interest rate, both of which are indeed not desirable.

Alternative Lending is more customer-centric and focused on creating value for the borrowers.. Documentation and compliance requirements are adjusted based on the type of loan product.

Beyond Just Lending

Borrowers are used to approaching banks and picking from the 2-3 off-the-shelf products that come closest to meeting their requirements. Many Alternative Lending channels such as Loan Frame provide value added advice to the borrower as to which loan product will be more appropriate, leading to more efficient and effective borrowing. There is also significant assistance provided in drafting the loan application and ensuring complete documentation.

Debt Consolidation

Alternative Lending channels make it possible for a borrower with a variety of facilities across lenders to consolidate debt under one lender. This is facilitated by multiple factors such as a common platform, deep lender relationships, a variety of loan products and a better understanding of the borrower’s requirement.

Read how debt consolidation can help improve credit standing and lower borrowing costs.

The Sheer Convenience of It All

Alternative Lending channels save you a lot of time and effort. You get to be evaluated against various options online and can spend your energy with the best one rather than waste energy in approaching various banks. This helps you to focus more on what you are good at and interested in – running the business – rather than on just arranging finances for it.

Leveraging Technology

The traditional lending process involves lots of paperwork and physical visits, which lead to delays in the approval and funding process. On the other hand, Alternative Lending channels leverage technology to save on both time and effort. Firstly, proprietary algorithms check for your loan eligibility within few seconds even as they incorporate many aspects beyond just the credit score. These include financials, business profile, promoter’s credit history and other business-specific data. In short, you have a more detailed assessment done in a shorter time leading to faster credit approvals and swift credit disbursal. It’s no wonder that the rise of the tech-based Alternative Lending channel has coincided with the widespread adoption of initiatives such as eKYC, Aadhaar, and UPI.

In this way, Alternative Lending helps solve not just the funding availability problem but also addresses the vexing problem of unduly high-interest rates for small businesses. As Narayana Murthy says,

If you cultivate inexpensive habits, you will not become a victim of money in later years. And, you will not fall into the trap of greed which leads you to do things that you will later regret.

This applies in equal measure to personal habits and business expenses, including what you pay on your borrowings. A better credit appraisal leads to a more appropriate interest rate for your business loan.

Some of the NPA-laden and capital-starved banks are either unable or unwilling to step in and plug the big funding gap that exists for MSME borrowers. Alternative Lending is a viable alternative for such borrowers. Furthermore, loan marketplaces like Loan Frame have several banks on their platform, therefore effectively serving as a bridge between the traditional and the alternative lending options.

About the author

This article is contributed by Neha Nayyar who works with Loan Frame. Loan Frame is one of the leading players in SME finance space and is backed by marquee investors.

National Payments Corporation of India [NPCI] has launched a dedicated website for Bharat Interface for Money [BHIM] to facilitate customers with information about BHIM app. The website can be accessed here

Considering that certain queries from customers are generic in nature with regards to BHIM, NPCI has developed a common website for dissemination of information through videos and infographics.

Mr. A. P. Hota, MD & CEO, NPCI said

The website will meet the needs of the customers for general information on BHIM and incentive programmes launched by the government in the form of BHIM referral programmes. Through simple tools like product videos, customer can have self-learning instead of calling banks and NPCI.

Customers can be benefited by knowing how to transact online using BHIM App through their mobile phones along with information pertaining to the number of banks and merchants live on BHIM. Currently there about 50 banks availing UPI services and customers of these banks can make use of any UPI application. BHIM is a generic UPI application developed and supported by NPCI. Once the customer downloads the application, the customer can customise it for his/her bank.

NPCI has also increased its social media presence by consistently updating information through our verified social media handles. Customers can also make use of the dedicated phone number for BHIM 022 – 45414740 and verified social media Twitter page @NPCI_BHIM for their queries.

About NPCI

National Payments Corporation of India [NPCI] was set up in 2009 as the central infrastructure for various retail payment systems in India and was envisaged by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as the payment utility in the country. For more information, please visit NPCI