This Fintech is 'Schooling' Indians On Consumer Credit Matters

This startup is building a community of credit-aware consumers in the country by offering solutions to deal with the affordability gap between their aspirations and income levels

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Among memories of studying maths, performing physics experiments and reading Shakespearean poetry at school, do you recall attending classes on investing your savings and building a good credit score? If you attended school in India, the answer would most likely be a resounding no! It's no wonder then that you sleep better knowing that your money is invested in traditional but reliable fixed deposits rather than in high dividend yielding but riskier stocks! It also doesn't shock us in the least if you quickly respond, "Not interested," on the phone before the poor bank representative can finish telling you the good news that you have been approved for availing credit card services. (Cue flashes of Confessions of a Shopoholic (2009))

Anurag Sinha

"We Indians typically don't spend much time on financial education early on in our life unlike consumers in other markets," explains Anurag Sinha, CEO and founder, OneScore and OneCard, which aim to build a community of credit-aware consumers in the country by offering solutions to deal with the affordability gap that exists between their aspirations and income levels.

"Consumer credit is a humongous opportunity in India. A credit score is a three-digit number, that one must monitor regularly irrespective of where you were last month. Along with your payment history, new product enquiries whether successful or not, Credit Mix, Length of Credit History, and New Credit, all of these factors play an important role while determining your credit score," says Sinha.

His fintech product, OneScore, gives access to a free score check from major bureaus and personalised insights and also offers a host of credit-related information all in one place, seeking to which educate the users and make them increasingly credit-aware. Additionally, OneCard is a metal card that comes along with an app to help customers manage the entire credit card life-cycle from the app including applying for the credit card, tracking spends and rewards, reward points redemption, offers and EMIs, repayment, etc.

"We are also working with brands and merchant partners to co-create value propositions," he says, adding, "A credit card is a very high engagement product and you want to ensure your spending is within limits. Therefore building an end-to-end digital experience is important."

While there are multiple credit card options available in the market, Sinha believes that there is a large open space for a mobile-first customer experience for young Indians and hence his company is exclusively focusing on that. So who are its customers? "Typically, for mobile financial services, the prime segment is between the ages of 20 to 35. The digital divide is still a big problem in India and it is not just due to inaccessibility to infrastructure or technology, but age is also an equally important factor. Though digital financial services such as UPI have helped bridge this divide to some extent, with both millennials and even 45-year-olds easily using it."

In terms of geographic location, the consumer base of OneScore is widespread, with more than 40% of the population coming from beyond the top 6-8 cities in the country. But in the case of OneCard, almost 70-80 per cent of the consumer base comes from tier I cities.

"Interestingly, in terms of gender ratio, credit or overall financial decision making and the consumption landscape has always been male-dominated. However, we are gradually witnessing a change in this demography with more and more women now making their own financial decisions and consuming credit on their own. But this is still at a nascent stage as compared to developed economies and therefore it is important that we build more innovative and engaging products to help women grow financially independent," opines Sinha.

As for growth plans, he plans to continue to focus his efforts to scale the existing credit management (OneScore) and credit issuance (OneCard) businesses. In the medium term, the team might expand its product portfolio in adjacent areas within the credit space. "As we speak, OneScore has 16 million users onboard, which shows that people want to learn about credit, they want to be aware but don't know where to go, in spite of there being a lot of information," he says.