In times of the pandemic, online social finance is gaining momentum. According to CMIE’s Consumer Pyramids Household Survey (CPHS) 2020, 77 percent of urban Indian households turn to family, friends and acquaintances during times of need. In the past year (2019-2020), the number of urban households taking out loans from family and friends has increased by 100%. SaveIn, an online platform, is trying to bet on this by taking care of the Indians who lend and borrow money from one another.
SaveIn aims to organize the large market for transactions among friends, family and acquaintances in order to make it easier to find, matchmake and record such transactions. In an email interaction with FE Online, Jitin Bhasin, Founder and CEO of SAVEIN, explains more about this platform and the benefits it offers to both lenders and borrowers. Excerpts:
What does an online platform like SaveIn need to borrow money from friends and family when you can do it directly through Net-Banking, UPI?
Jitin Bhasin: Almost 80% of the working population of India does not have access to formal / institutional credit and therefore lending / borrowing among friends, family, shopkeepers, business associates, office colleagues, etc. is becoming a preferred form of financing for most Indians. While such transactions are carried out through Cash / Bank Transfer / UPI, there are related challenges such as:
– Limited number of contacts to borrow / borrow: people are unaware of the potential of their social network and only end up borrowing / borrowing to a very small group of people. With SaveIN, people can discover hundreds of lenders / borrowers using the power of their own social network.
– Ability to Charge Interest: Lenders find it difficult / embarrassing to charge interest while lending money to borrowers in their circle. Likewise, borrowers do not know the correct / transparent interest rate terms that they should pay in order to borrow with dignity. SaveIN enables lenders to clearly define their desired interest rate when creating their credit profile. This in turn is clearly indicated to borrowers when lenders are approached via the SaveIN platform, thus addressing this core problem for both sides.
– Records: When transactions are made in cash, there are no associated records. Even with bank transfers / UPI, the transaction is recorded as a mere âpaymentâ and not as a âloanâ from person A to B. Hence there is no leeway in defining âloanâ terms / interest rates, calculating the repayment amount, monitoring loan repayment schedule, etc. The lack of records causes lenders / borrowers to forget to pay / collect money on the due date and thus increases the friction in their relationship.
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SaveIN keeps all records fully digital and records everything from the loan request, lender decision, loan approval, repayment plan and the associated repayment protocols to the loan conclusion. It is noteworthy that all payments made through the SaveIN platform are digital in nature so there is no need to use cash
– Repayment Problems: Lenders have been observed to have to “hunt” borrowers to repay as there are no official records / methods to facilitate repayment. Since such informal transactions are not documented, there is no penalty for the borrower if it defaults
SaveIN sends automatic notifications and reminders to both lenders and borrowers to remind them of due repayments, enabling disciplined and responsible lending / borrowing through the use of the SaveIN platform. Both lenders and borrowers can also assign ratings to each other, which allows both parties to record their experiences. This lender / borrower rating is immensely useful in identifying disciplined and compliant lenders / borrowers on the SaveIN platform.
It is evident that SaveIN is digitizing this large informal loan market and addressing key vulnerabilities that lenders / borrowers experience in their transactions with one another
SaveIn is neither a bank nor an RBI regulated NBFC. How does this platform address security concerns from lenders and borrowers?
Jitin Bhasin: SaveIN is a fintech platform that has developed a proprietary technology product that makes it easy to find, matchmake, keep records, and make payments for informal loans among willing participants in a social circle. All payments are made by users using their existing bank accounts through UPI, with control and responsibility for approving payments / funds transfers with the user alone. SaveIN cannot carry out any transactions without the express consent of the user. It is noteworthy that SaveIN has partnered with leading payment gateways and therefore offers a payment experience that is comparable to any other fintech / ecommerce / consumer business in terms of payments / money transfer. SaveIN follows a fully consent-driven, secure architecture; All customer information is encrypted using the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard.
It is therefore obvious that SaveIN fulfills the highest level of security and enables customers to use the platform.
What fees are deducted from SaveIn when someone borrows or borrows money on the SavIn platform?
Jitin Bhasin: As a platform, SaveIN reserves the right to charge its users a usage fee / service fee. However, SaveIN does not currently charge any fees for using the platform, which means that more and more Indians can use the platform for informal credit transactions
How much business have you done?
Jitin Bhasin: SaveIN App was launched in mid-April 2021 and has since been downloaded by more than 50,000 users from the Google Playstore. We have more than 3000 registered lenders on the platform and several users are already transacting on SaveIN for their informal loans. The platform was rated with a lifetime rating of 4+ by nearly 700 people on the Google Playstore, reflecting that users appreciate the overall SaveIN experience.
Can you make money by lending on the SaveIn platform? Who can lend me money at SaveIn?
Jitin Bhasin: Yes, a lender can set a preferred interest rate (0% -36% pa) while lending money to people on their own network. In order for a loan to be recorded on the platform, the loan terms and conditions must be agreed between a lender / borrower. SaveIN connects lenders and borrowers on their own social networks, which means that a lender never receives inquiries from unknown people.