Anil Pinapala, Founder and CEO of Vivifi
NEW DELHI: Vivifi, an RBI-certified non-banking finance company (NBFC) that enables easier and more direct access to credit for the underserved communities in India, offers sachet sized loans to customers who have the ability and intent to repay. Based on the loan repayments of these customers, the company then increases their credit limit to help them improve their credit score and eventually get access to larger loans. Founded in 2017 by Anil Pinapala (founder & CEO) and Srinath Kompella (co-founder & COO), the Hyderabad-based startup has disbursed over Rs 200 crore credit till date. Here, Pinapala talks about the performance of the fintech industry during the pandemic. Excerpts:
How Vivifi is performing amidst the rise of the second wave of infections?
We continue to stay strong but are also being cautious with the increase in the number of cases and a potential lockdown that might affect the business. While the demand continues to be robust, we are treading this wave cautiously.
What is your growth strategy and vision for 2021?
The USA’s economic growth post-Vietnam war was driven by the availability of retail credit cards. In India too, retail credit will play a pivotal role in making it a 5 trillion-dollar economy by backing and boosting consumption levels. In sync with this vision, we at Vivifi have launched FlexPay, India’s first digital credit card offering credit (as low as Rs.500) by leveraging the sophisticated payments infrastructure in UPI 2.0. We have also adopted a completely remote and form-less onboarding process, which is based on video, voice and images along with video-based KYC.
What are the new trends that you are witnessing in the personal loan segment?
The demand for personal has only grown over the years, especially among the low-income families and borrowers, who mainly avail of these loans for consumption purposes. All fintechs popping up these days target young and low-income people who are digitally savvy and seek short-term credit solutions for pursuing various aspirations.
Besides, we are also seeing innovations like buy now pay later, allowing users to shop without worrying about money and later repay the amount in easy EMIs. These new products have made credit accessibility easier and more seamless for people across India, who earlier faced reluctance from formal lenders and hence ended up taking credit from indirect sources at high-interest rates.
Other unique features of personal loans include flexible repayment options, quick disbursals, 100% digital customer onboarding, multiple repayment modes, and higher transparency levels, among others, which have completely changed the face of personal loans and how these were perceived a few years ago. We are now seeing a distinct trend where customers are preferring products that offer flexible payment options and also a flexibility to withdraw whatever they need whenever they need it, which is being offered by Line of Credit products.
How is the overall recovery in the fintech industry?
The Indian fintech ecosystem has grown rapidly, even during the pandemic. We have seen an exponential growth in digital lending which is poised to tremendous adoption in digital payments. Given its impressive growth trajectory, the sector even holds enough potential to drive recovery for the entire country. And this can be achieved by strong collaborations between banks and fintech players to craft and offer the best customer experience, catering to their emergency needs at a critical juncture like this.
The pandemic has, in fact, given a push to every bank and fintech to innovate further and address the pain points of customers using state-of-the-art technologies. With such an approach, the fintech industry is expected to exponentially grow over the next five years.
Tell us about Vivifi’s key products – FlexPay & FlexSalary.
FlexPay enables users to make payments for purchases using the ‘scan now, pay later’ option on UPI. This solution is designed to cater to non-prime and low-income borrowers who usually depend on indirect sources of funds – like friends, family, or unlicensed lenders – during a cash crunch. It is also useful for kirana stores that offer small-ticket credit to customers to retain them. It is the only payment system in India that provides credit on UPI, enabling a true digital credit card experience for hundreds of millions of customers and millions of merchants who stayed outside the ambit of traditional credit cards.
FlexSalary is another gateway product by Vivifi that provides customers with an unsecured personal emergency line of credit. It’s more like an instant personal loan that comes with unique features such as digital onboarding, seamless one-time approval, quick disbursal, flexible repayments, zero prepayment penalties, etc. An individual can take a loan up to Rs 2 lakh for any length of duration, repay it with interest and continue using the same for various purposes.