For years, the local Kirana store has provided us with daily necessities, in rural and urban areas alike. But with the COVID-19 induced lockdowns witnessed in the country, small business units like Kirana stores saw a surge in innovation and adoption of digital technologies to keep them ahead of the curve. Fintech sector played an important role here and became one of the top industries to boost the segment during the pandemic. The efficient and effective solutions by the players not just help them in creating revenues but also support small business in the time of need to push the economic growth.
In the past few months, there has been major loss suffered by small business units amidst COVID-19 induced lockdowns. With over 63 million MSME units across various parts of the country, the sector employs about 120 million individuals of which 25–30 million lost their jobs in the past few months. The fintech products are tailored to the need of small businesses via lending money, digital support, additional solutions etc.
Following are the fintech players helping small business to drive through a hard time, especially this festive season:
PayNearby: PayNearby India’s leading hyperlocal fintech network offering digital financial and non-financial services to underbanked segments of the population. PayNearby empowers retailers at the first mile to offer digital services such as Aadhaar-based banking services, bank savings, bill payments, card payments, insurance services, and more to local communities. The company leverages AI, ML, and advanced analytics to create quick, simple, seamless, and efficient micro experiences that enable local retailers, referred to as ‘Digital Pradhans’, to provide these assisted hyperlocal services.
Driven by its mission ‘Har Dukaan Digital Pradhan’, PayNearby enables an average of 3.5 million transactions in 115 Aspirational Districts of India every month. Through concerted efforts, the company is not just digitally empowering kiranas and local communities but is also playing an instrumental role both in driving financial inclusion and the transformation of India’s socio-economic landscape.
BANKIT: Noida-based fin-tech company, BANKIT is helping hyperlocal businesses in simplifying order, payment and additional services at the store amid this lockdown. BANKIT is equipped with more than 50,000 kirana stores with additional services like cash transfer, online order, cash withdrawal, travel booking etc to empower their business. The organization also creates entrepreneurial opportunities by appointing banking agents (business correspondents). BANKIT vision is to make “Millionaire Agents Network” (MAN) i.e. to maximize the number of agents who are able to make Rs. 5-10 Lakh revenue in a year by delivering various BANKIT services. There are over 1 Lakh+ Self-employed Agents already working with BANKIT and over the last few months have been onboarding 5000+ agents, who are at the forefront of being rural entrepreneurs.
BharatPe: BharatPe, the Delhi-based fintech startup is gearing up for loan disbursals ahead of the festive season as it expects MSMEs revival soon. The company has already disbursed loans to the tune of Rs 150 crore in the ongoing quarter with the help of its partners and with this, it has become the top fintech lender for merchants in the pandemic. In the festive season, many small and medium-sized retail businesses plan to bounce back in business. Therefore, BharatPe is leading from the front and helping the merchant community with much-needed access to credit.
Airtel Payment Banks: Airtel Payments Bank has partnered with Mastercard to build customized solutions for payments such as tap-and-pay NFC, credit facility and other neighborhood banking services for farmers and SMEs. The companies aim to cater to the underbanked spectrum of users and enable digital adoption via the partnership. The collaboration aims at building a digital platform which provides farmers & small business with knowledge about advanced banking techniques for the business growth and connection to marketplaces.