FinTech is disrupting the very fundamentals of money management the world over, and India is no exception. With the Prime Minister’s focus, especially, on making India “digital”, a number of programs and schemes have been launched. In fact, many of the schemes have taken a cue from the private sector and have upped the innovation game to deliver a comfortable and convenient money management experience. From the point of sale (POS) machines to merchant cash advance to e-wallets, we are seeing a plethora of FinTech products and services change the way we pay. And this phenomenon is occurring across industries, whether it is the fast moving e-commerce sector or the heavy-duty manufacturing sector.
Consumers are at the receiving end of these changes and need to fast adapt to the new payment means. First it was a revolution of the plastic money, with cash bring replaced by credit and debit cards. This demanded the use of other paraphernalia, such as the point of sale devices at the checkout counters. Now, with niche FinTech innovators such as Paytm and MobiKwik, even the point of sale devices are not required. It is just scan and pay. The government has taken this ease of payment a step further by bringing to light the Bharat QR payment method.
What is Bharat QR
Bharat QR is a payment process driven by a Quick Response Code or QR code. A user who has the Bharat QR-enabled bank application on his or her mobile phone can make a payment quickly, easily and safely. The best part is that scanning the machine-readable optical grid translates the bank account information without your having to swipe or hand over a card, making it extremely convenient! This is because the QR grid stores the person’s bank information. This is similar to using a Paytm or a FreeCharge or a MobiKwik e-wallet, the advantage being that in Bharat QR, payments are linked directly to your bank account rather than to a separate e-wallet. There is thus no hassle of transferring money to your Paytm wallet or MobiKwik wallet. Alternatively, the user can also access Bharat QR through the Bharat Interface for Money or BHIM universal app, which is a UPI developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI).
Currently, Bharat QR is available on the mobile applications of 15 nationalised and private banks, namely – Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Citi Union Bank, DCB Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, Punjab National Bank, RBL Bank, State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Vijaya Bank and Yes Bank. It is also linked to VISA, MasterCard, American Express and RuPay cards. Its scale is expected to increase in the coming days.
A look at Point of Sale
Bharat QR is thus a leap ahead of the Point of Sale payment mechanisms, which were the mainstream payment devices used at most commercial and consumer locations such as shops and restaurants. The Point of Sale or POS terminal is a computerised replacement for a cash register that can process credit and debit cards. A customer swipes their card in the machine and enters the PIN number to verify and complete the transaction. The POS is installed at the merchant location, mostly by the bank that they associated with. Not only does the merchant bear the cost of the device and the installation, but they are also compelled to pay the issuer bank a merchant discount rate (MDR). This is a percentage of the transaction value. In a bid to boost cash transactions, the RBI had rationalised the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) for debit cards. Accordingly, a cap has been introduced for debit card point of sale payments, capped at 0.75% for transaction values up to Rs 2000 and at 1% for transaction values above Rs 2000. However, it continues to be an expense for the merchant, and is often passed on to the customer by increasing the selling price of the product or service. Often, buyers may not even realise that they are being charged extra for the MDR.
Other payment instruments: e-wallets
The first leg of replacing the point of sale was the onslaught of e-wallets such as Paytm and FreeCharge. Although they operate on the same principle as that of scanning a QR code, they are somewhat restrictive because they require both the transferor and the receiver to have the same e-wallet installed on their smartphones. The need was thus felt for a faster and easier money transfer mode, which caused the Bharat QR to come to the fore, thanks to the design and development by NCPI.
Advantages of Bharat QR
The Bharat QR is a step towards financial freedom by means of cashless transactions. It relieves one from the hassle of swiping at the point of sale or of facing detection troubles with one’s plastic money at the point of sale. Because there is no requirement of a physical use of a card, the risk of data theft or security issues through tampered or cyber-compromised point of sale devices is also minimised. Costs are reduced from both the consumer and merchant viewpoints, since the need for expensive point of sale devices and their MDR charges is eliminated. A significant advantage of Bharat QR is its ease of operation; i.e., the buyer and seller need not download the same payment application to make the payment happen, unlike Paytm. This is because the Bharat QR is directly linked to a single bank account. It poses a logistical relief, since businessmen now need not shuffle between different wallets and track their credits and debits – a tedious task. Moreover, the money transfer happens instantly because Bharat QR uses an IMPS service. Bharat QR truly has the potential to create a FinTech revolution.
It is clear that Bharat QR paves a convenient way ahead for paying and receiving funds. It is a great idea to get started on this universal tool. As a merchant, you must register with your banks to get authorised to receive payments through Bharat QR. Link your bank account to the BHIM app and generate your unique Bharat QR Code, take a print of your QR code and stick it onto your payment counter to get started.
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In the past ten years, India has seen a growth in the number of start-ups coming forward to offer customised solutions in the fields of education, hospitality, travel, transport, healthcare, entertainment, marketing, e-commerce, waste management and consulting. Most of them, however, start with modest funds. They also deal with the challenges of validating their R&D, finding profitable markets and managing office administration costs and overheads.
It is also a common for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the service segment to experience their initial expenses being higher than their revenue.
Another problem encountered frequently is that while a business may be prompt at paying the bills raised by its suppliers and utility companies, it may not have customers who pay on time. Even though Accounts Receivable is an asset for any organisation, it gets converted into cash only at a later date. How then should such a business fund its current expenses and keep fuelling its operations? The answer lies in an SME loan, which is the best resort at this point.
Taking an SME or MSME loan is also a wise decision for an enterprise that has planned its next step towards growth or wants to invest some funds immediately in utilising a new business opportunity.
What kinds of loans are available in the market?
The service industry has numerous sub-domains, and a business loan for service company are provided by banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs).
The potent ability of digital NBFCs to offer unsecured business loans have made them a competitive source of finance for micro, small and medium enterprises. With a lending model facilitated by digital technology, these companies are also known as FinTechs, and they offer bespoke credit products for organisations providing professional solutions.
Your business loan for service company could be a working capital loan, invoice finance, credit for expanding the business or any other tailored loan for professional services.
A Working capital loan is usually taken to fund the daily operations and cover expenses such as wages, purchase of equipment or to manage entries on accounts payable. These are short-term loans that help businesses to stay focused on their growth.
Similar to a merchant cash advance, invoice finance is another popular SME loan where the lender advances money against the unpaid account receivables of the borrowing business. If you have raised bills to some of your clients, and they are yet to be paid, you can use the same to get a loan from a FinTech company.
Loans can also be used for business expansion and opening new branch offices or shops. Doctors who wish to start more prominent clinics, retailers who want to add more shelves in their shop or to purchase the adjoining premises to expand, and other entities that seek a business loan for service company growth can approach a FinTech lender for quick funds.
Can these NBFCs provide adequate amounts to suit your requirements?
A loan application requires you to state the purpose of the funds. It is good to have a precise idea of the amount to fulfil such business needs, and for this, you should check the exact market costs of the assets that you plan to buy with the borrowed amount.
As an example, if you are taking a working capital loan to buy motorcycles to facilitate the courier delivery services offered by your company, find the price of these vehicles and enter the same amount in your loan application. While there are no rules against requesting a more substantial sum, it is good not to go overboard. This prudence will help you in avoiding higher EMIs.
The amount that you can get on business loan for service company may range from a few lakh rupees to almost a crore. With such a broad scope for funds, the requirements of most SMEs are conveniently met.
How to apply for a business loan: The Process in General
To avail credit from conventional sources, you generally have to visit the lender’s office at least once and discuss the complete procedure. You may be asked to submit multiple photocopies of ID proofs and business financial health documents.
An MSME loan from the digitally operating FinTech company, however, is availed on much easier terms.
While the eligibility criterion differs from loan to loan, it is accommodating enough to include a high number of businesses. FinTechs only need to be sure of the repaying abilities of their borrowers, for which they ask for at least one year of successful operational history.
Owners of any Pvt Ltd, Prop, or LLP (limited liability partnership) company can check their eligibility and apply for their business loan online. They merely need to visit the website of the FinTech lender and fill in the application digitally. Remember that the portal of a genuine lender will be encrypted with a valid security certificate, and the URL will start with an ‘https’ prefix.
Since it is a digitized process, the upload of soft copies of documents is enough to verify the authenticity and eligibility of business for the funds. Among other things, the latest copy of tax returns may also be required.
It does not take long to know the status of your application. You will learn of the lender’s decision in minutes, and for every approved loan application, the amount is disbursed in 2-3 working days. It is deposited directly in the business bank account.
Loan costs and repayment
FinTech loans are offered without hidden overhead charges such as legal fee, loan insurance premium, documentation charge, commitment fee and other miscellaneous dues.
This implies that you only pay interest and a nominal loan processing fee along with the principal in your EMIs. Additionally, the terms of repayment are flexible, and instalments can be varied as per your business earnings.
While availing of a loan to solving cash crunch, SMEs can finance their business strategies without hypothecating any valuable asset to a lender.
Capital Float has adopted a digitally refined lending framework to enable the growing number of SMEs in India to easily procure the funds they need for their ambitious plans. As an online platform offering funds for various business requirements, we have trimmed the formal loan issuing process to make it stress-free and quick for businesses.
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To get more information on loans for specific business types, please visit our website or call us at 1860 419 0999.
Oct 24, 2018
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Oct 24, 2018
Unsecured small business loans are considered as one of the safest ways to raise short-term finance for meeting the working capital requirements or urgent funding needs of a business. The safety feature is attributable to the fact that these unsecured small business loans do not require any collateral or security in the form of assets of a business. Most small businesses do not have adequate assets to offer as collateral. The elimination of the need for collateral makes it possible for such businesses to raise loans.
Recent years have witnessed the launch of new-age lenders and the introduction of products that have revolutionized unsecured business loans in India. This is not merely via the easy access to funds, but also offering customized solutions for different businesses and tying the repayments to the accounts receivables or inflows from credit card sales of a business.
Ensure uninterrupted business operations
Often small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need funds for their daily operations to ensure the smooth functioning of their business. Funds may be required to purchase raw materials, pay wages and salaries, clear utility bills and meet unexpected expenses. SMEs may also need immediate funds to grab a business opportunity or take advantage of a seasonal upswing in the demand for their products. These funds are required before a business services its customers and raises invoices. The lack of availability of funds at this time can threaten the very survival of a business and, at the least, could throttle any growth opportunities.
This is when unsecured small business loans come to the rescue. SMEs are able to sustain their businesses with the help of such funding options.
The main reason behind the increasing popularity of unsecured small business loans in India is their easy availability. Only a few years back, businesses had no other option but to approach banks and other traditional financial institutions to raise funds. Even if a business could satisfy the stringent eligibility criteria for loans, it could take months before the funds were disbursed.
With the emergence of FinTech lenders, it has become possible to secure funds in a matter of days. Such lenders use the latest technology to assist the loan approval process, making the sanctioning and disbursal of loans swift and easy. Such loans are safe because they are easily available and ideal for preventing any disruption to operations.
Protect Your Bottom-Line
Most SMEs are unable to meet the eligibility criteria put forth by traditional financial institutions. In fact, it was impractical to approach banks for urgent liquidity needs, given their long-drawn approval processes. Thus, most businesses were left to the mercy of unorganized money lenders who would charge steep interest rates.
FinTech lenders now offer loans that are easy to access, with faster approval processes and more affordable interest rates. With these solutions in place, businesses can protect their bottom-line by raising unsecured business loans without paying exorbitant rates of interest charged by unorganized moneylenders.
Flexible Repayment Options
Unsecured business loans come with flexible repayment options. The term of the loan could range from six months to three years. The repayments can be on a daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Some products like Capital Float’s Online Seller Finance and Merchant Cash Advances link repayment to the operating cycle or receivables and credit card sales of the business. This flexibility puts a business in a better position to make repayments. Since the repayment is a specific percentage of the monthly sales, there is no added pressure on the borrower to repay the loan. This also ensures that the borrower is not stressed about repayments when business is slow.
No Restriction on Use of Funds
When a business takes an unsecured short-term loan, the lender does not impose any restriction on how the business deploys these funds, unlike in the case of secured loans. The borrower can use the loan amount to fund daily operations, purchase raw materials, pay utility bills or market its business.
Flexible Loan Size
In the case of a secured loan, the amount that a business can borrow is determined by the value of the collateral. In the case of unsecured business loans, the amount can be determined by the need for funds. With Capital Float’s Merchant Cash Advances, a business can borrow any amount ranging between ₹1 lakh and ₹1 crore. Although the amount is correlated to the credit/debit card payments to a business, the loan can be as high as 200% of the monthly card settlement.
Defaulting on Repayment of Unsecured Small Business Loans
Unlike in the case of secured loans, a lender cannot seize any assets of the business in case of a nonpayment of the loan amount. However, defaulting on a loan can have serious consequences. A business may not be able to take another loan once it has defaulted in repaying one. The failure to meet repayment obligations could end in a lawsuit.
Prior to taking such serious measures; however, lenders would offer options to make it easier for a business to repay the loan. If a business is unable to repay a loan as per the scheduled timeline, the best thing to do is to contact the lender to explain the reasons for default and to set a revised repayment plan.
In fact, most experts advise SMEs to build a long-term relationship with the lender. Unsecured loans can be taken on a recurring basis, making money available exactly when a business needs it and planning repayments when the business is expecting an inflow of funds from customers.
Oct 24, 2018