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'Pay Later' Service Provider Simpl Partners with ICICI Bank, Looks To Expand Footprint The Bengaluru-based start-up is now looking to partner with banking institutions as it targets expansion across channels and may enter international markets next year

By Debroop Roy

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One-click pay later service provider Simpl has partnered with ICICI Bank as it seeks to expand across channels. While the Bengaluru-based start-up will go live with its association with ICICI Bank by the end of October, an overseas foray is likely to happen next year, Chaitra Chidanand, Simpl's co-founder and chief operating officer told Entrepreneur India.

She added the start-up is looking to partner with more banks and financial institutions, and that it recently received investment from a Japanese fund which is keen that Simpl starts operations in the island nation.

"If they (banks) are willing to give you (INR) 50,000 line of credit, then they can route (INR) 5,000 through something like Simpl because the usability for these high frequency transactions is infinitely higher," Chidanand explained.

For Chidanand and her co-founder Nityanand Sharma, the idea of such a service came from wanting to make money simpler for the end consumer. They soon realized there existed a problem in the online ecosystem, where commerce was happening.

The last leg of a transaction, where the payment is to be made, both the merchant and user lose control of the experience. Several transactions fail at this stage, with money getting debited from the customer but doesn't reach the other end.

And that's where Simpl came in. By creating a "khaata' (ledger) system between the merchant and customer, to keep a tab, by using data that already exists from the relationship between the two.

Working With Banks

Banks often don't have much visibility into many customer transactions as they either use cash or put money into a digital wallet, according to Chidanand.

"We think that we can change that for the banks by being the ledger—sync our ledger with the bank—they will know that their users are spending across all of these," she said.

By leveraging the technology that Simpl uses, banks would also be able to pull down the minimum amount currently required for underwriting a loan.

"Simpl can underwrite for as low as INR 500," said Chidanand, adding that for financial inclusion to truly happen, for everybody to start having a credit score and to bring them into the financial system, such partnerships needed to be made. "By partnering with somebody like Simpl, banks can start funding these INR 500 lines."

Assessing Trust Score

The Bengaluru-based company has created a system of intelligence through all the data that it receives from and about customers.

Chidanand said rather than focusing on credit score, the system creates what she called "trust score' for each individual user. "It is more of a behavioral trust. Will you try to game the system? Or will you abide by the honour?"

For a user to be eligible to use Simpl for any of its partner merchants, they must have at least three transactions in a single billing cycle. "We realized that three transactions is sort of a sweet spot because if somebody is making three transactions, then combining that into one bill is useful enough," she said.

From a single merchant in cloud kitchen brand Faasos, Simpl has grown to over 50 partners. But how does it help the merchant?

Because of the frictionless experience that Simpl provides, said Chidanand. For that, it charges a small fee from the seller. "It's all aimed at helping the merchant create trusted relationships with their end customers, one transaction at a time."

Expanding Abroad

Chidanand believes the problem Simpl is trying to solve exists everywhere.

Recently, a Japanese fund invested in the company and they are keen on Simpl expanding their operations to the south Asian country, she said. According to her, considering how Japan is a cash-heavy country as well, something like Simpl would work well.

The company would likely look at expanding internationally next year, she added.

Debroop Roy

Former Correspondent

Covering the start-up ecosystem in and around Bangalore. Formerly an energy reporter at Reuters. A film, cricket buff who also writes fiction on weekends.
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