Loan Products in the Market for SMEs: 5 Steps to find the best Business loan type for your Business Requirements

An enterprise that has a strategic business plan for its growth but not enough cash to execute the same can approach institutional lenders for funds. There are multiple sources of procuring a working capital loan in the organised credit market. These include private and public sector banks, development banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs).

The digitally enabled NBFCs known as FinTech lending companies have become some of the major lenders supporting the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs, SMEs) around the world. In India too, the FinTech lending model is becoming popular, and start-ups find it more convenient to borrow from them as these companies offer unsecured business loans.

What kind of businesses can borrow from a FinTech company? How to apply for a FinTech SME or MSME loan? Could this be a month-long process like most other institutional lending systems? These are some of the questions that organisations not acquainted with the digital lending framework ask. And the answers bring relief to most of them.  

In their mission to support the Make in India initiative, established FinTech companies are coming forward to assist as many enterprises as possible. They have a diversified array of products that include working capital loan, term loan, supply chain finance, machinery loan and other funds customised for different commercial needs.

You need to take merely 5 steps to find the best business loan type for your business requirement when you decide to approach a FinTech company for finance.

Before we further look into these five steps, here is some more information on the different types of funds provided by these digital lenders:

Working Capital Loan—This form of finance helps sustain the regular operations of any business. It is usually taken for a short term – up to 12 months – to procure additional raw materials, buy inventory, pay for utilities and to give advance payments to suppliers. Your business can use this loan as a cash cushion and manage seasonal sale fluctuations.

Term Loan—FinTech companies also offer loans for longer tenures when businesses need to make bigger investments. When the loan amount taken by an SME is approximately Rs 20 lakhs to 50 lakhs, it can be paid it back in 2- 3 years in small instalments. Term loans can be taken by any manufacturer, trader, distributor or professional service provider.

MCA Loan—A Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) loan is a funding option open to businesses that frequently accept card-based payments from their customers. The FinTech lender looks at the monthly credit or debit card receipts to determine the creditworthiness of a borrower. Eligible businesses in Indian can borrow between Rs 1 lakh and 1 crore as per their average card settlements. The loan can be paid back in 9 to 12 months.

Machinery Loan—As the name conveys this loan is procured to purchase machines and equipment used in the manufacturing processes. Businesses in construction, packaging, fabrication, and assembling of products can use these loans to overcome temporary financial roadblocks. FinTechs have flexible repayment terms for such loans.

Invoice Finance—Another customised business loan for SMEs and MSMEs, invoice financing enables businesses to borrow against their Account Receivables. If your company needs immediate cash to fund operations, but your clients will process your bills at later dates, you may be eligible to get quick invoice finance from a FinTech company.

Pay Later Loan—An SME loan in the form of a pay later finance comes with a pre-defined amount that is exclusive to each business as per its requirements and earning capacity. On this loan borrowers can make multiple draw-downs within the approved limit. They just need to pay back the sums used to reinstate the balance for further usage. It is a rolling credit product to help small businesses pay their suppliers at short notices. The top benefit of this loan is that the interest is charged only on the amount used and not the full limit approved for the borrower.

Supply Chain Finance—A tailored loan to help dealers and suppliers having business relationships with large, blue-chip companies, supply chain finance can be availed to buy inventory, improve cash flow, reduce the cost of goods sold (COGS), improve sales, and ensure the timely availability of goods for consumers. With supply chain finance, the borrowing business can reduce its dependence on the buyer while benefiting from the fluidity in its financial position.

FinTechs also offer bespoke funding for specific professions and businesses. These may be in the form of a school loan, doctor loan, online seller finance, franchise finance, petrol pump loan, restaurant loan or a loan for any other legally permissible business.

5 steps to find the best business loan type for your business requirements

When a FinTech company offers a custom loan product for your line of business/profession, it is important to identify the right kind of finance product.  It is thus good to be aware of the general ways to choose the right SME or MSME loan.

  1. Make a note of your requirements—When your business has a good credit rating, it can be tempting to borrow a sum larger than what you need. You may want to keep a bigger cash reserve for working capital. This, however, is a wrong strategy. Remember that as the loan amount increases your instalments to repay it will also be bigger. It is advisable to use a business loan EMI calculator to know the sum that you can repay and apply for the correct amount of funds that will fulfil your need.
  2. Check your eligibility—Borrowers are often asked to pledge some financial asset as security,  to be eligible for most of the conventional loans. However, FinTechs offer unsecured loans and check the creditworthiness of borrowers on the basis of years in operation, revenue earnings, past loan history if any and compliance of the business with tax laws. You can check your eligibility criteria relating to specific loans by referring to the lender’s website or speaking to their customer service team.
  3. Compare loan costs on all parameters—Do not be instantly allured to loans that advertise low interest rates. Such an SME loan may also have a loan processing fee of 3% or more, and multiple hidden charges such as a legal fee, documentation fee, insurance premium and other statutory payments. On the other hand FinTech loans that have a slightly high interest rate come with just a processing fee of up to 2% and no hidden fees.
  4. Collate the required documents—To verify the information filled in a loan application you will need to have your KYC documents, copies of the latest tax returns, bank statements and few other papers as per the nature of the loan sought. The benefit of going for a FinTech loan here is that you only need to upload soft copies of such documents as the loan application is made digitally.
  5. Apply for the loan—Once you have understood your requirements, eligibility, cost of the loan and have collected the required papers, the last step is to apply for the funds. When you make a digital application, ensure that the lender has a secure website that will encrypt all your personal and business details.

Apply for Unsecured school loan

At Capital Float every business loan application is reviewed within minutes of its submission, and if approved, the fund is disbursed in the next 2-3 business days. At the end of these 5 steps to find the best business loan type for your business requirement, you can be rest assured that you have the right amount that you wish to add to your working capital and the right loan type from the collection of credit products at Capital Float that is customised for your needs.

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5 reasons to pay EMIs/Credit Card payments on time

Timely payment of EMIs or credit card bills is an essential aspect of taking charge of your financial life. Very often, people miss their bill payments because of their busy schedules. Making on-time bill payments a priority will lead to many benefits and will keep you out of debt traps.

Here are five reasons to pay your EMIs or credit card payments on time:

  • Good credit standing: Making timely payments of EMIs or credit card bills will ensure that your credit history remains positive. A good credit score makes you creditworthy. Having a high credit score will enable you to avail quick, formal finance to address your needs in the future.
  • Avail loans easily: If you have a high credit score, banks or financial institutions won’t hesitate to sanction your loans. You can even get higher loan amounts with low-interest rates.
  • Save on fines: You may avoid the penalty or late payment fee that banks charge by paying the EMIs or credit card bills on time. This helps avoid increasing your financial burden.
  • Save money: When you pay your EMIs or credit card bills on time, you save more as the interest on the outstanding amount does not increase. Lenders may charge high interest on delayed repayments.
  • Keep the monthly payments low: When you miss your bill payment for a month, you will need to pay it the following month. So, the amount to be paid in the next month will increase. Your next payment will include two installments and also the penalty charge, thereby compounding the owable amount. 

Late payments can affect the financial position of people adversely. Make it a habit to pay all your dues on time. It will not only reduce your stress level but also help you avail of all the benefits mentioned above.

Oct 24, 2018

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Credit changes hands as Digital Lending takes shape

A wave of change is sweeping across the nation, transforming accessibility of credit at an individual and institutional level. As stated by the World Bank in 2014, nearly 47% of Indian adults are disconnected from formalized financial systems, increasing their dependency on informal credit channels. The nature of these informal channels and the environment fostering their sustenance make these modes of funding exorbitantly expensive. These channels typically provide immediate funding but debilitate the borrower’s sustainability and competitiveness in the long-term. Usurious rates of interest, loans terms disconnected from business fundamentals and delayed-decision making shackle entrepreneurs armed with ambition.

The apprehensions involving credit-access notwithstanding, SMEs find themselves lucratively placed in the timeline of the Indian economy, wherein Governmental and capitalistic forces are aligning in order to further SME progression in the country. Centre-led initiatives and evolutionary processes set up by tactful corporates are becoming building blocks to facilitate economic development through SMEs.

SMEs central to India’s economic development

The Government of India has identified the significant role SMEs play in shaping and developing the economy. The ‘Make in India’ initiative was launched last year to attract foreign and local investment to the country’s manufacturing sector. SMEs are required to participate actively in making this initiative a success. The pro-manufacturing stance of the Government provides these businesses with the opportunity to scale and grow at an accelerated pace.

India destined to become an e-commerce superpower

Similarly, e-commerce companies in India are in the golden phase of technological advancement. According to Goldman Sachs, India’s e-commerce market will cross the $100 billion mark by FY20[1]. A study by PWC indicated that the e-commerce industry is expected to grow from $16.4 billion in 2014 to $21.3 billion in 2015[2]. Alibaba.com, the B2B division of the world’s largest e-retailer Alibaba Group recently announced that India is the second most important market for the company globally [3]. A whopping majority of the e-commerce space presently comprises of e-tailing and e-travel companies. Alibaba is likely to provide B2B companies the much-needed platform to establish their presence.

Credit now just a click away

Several factors could hinder SMEs from expanding at a geometric rate. Possibly the most critical of these is credit. Companies are queuing to alter the perception and approach to credit, with many organisations attempting to transform finance from a function to a service.

A recent article on YourStory mentioned that over 500 financial technology start-ups in India have received $1.4 billion in funding since 2012[4]. These are not merely in the credit services sector but also include companies in the mobile payment services sector. With 90% mobile phone penetration in the country and smartphone sales expected to reach 500 million units in the next five years, digital engagement with consumers will be higher than ever before.

Pioneer with purpose

Capital Float, the pioneer in digital lending for SMEs in India, is spearheading this digital revolution. We understand the crippling effects collateral-based loans have on business progression and the inherent anxiety they cause. Our expertise in big data, decision sciences proficiency and technological prowess gives us the edge to provide specially tailored financial services to small and medium businesses across the country. Competitive interest rates make us relevant and digital platforms increase our reach. Gone are the days when SMEs toiled to acquire credit. Digitized processes have bridged the gap between the borrower and capital, the two now being separated by a few clicks of the mouse.

Digital Lending will gradually replace conventional credit channels. In response to the altering financial landscape, traditional organisations are revisiting their work-flows and are attempting to revitalize processes to become felicitous options.

SMEs are evolving at a rapid rate and it’s not surprising that access to finance too is changing simultaneously.

Author – Rajath Kumar, Marketing Manager, Capital Float.

[1]http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/retail/indias-ecommerce-market-to-breach-100-billion-mark-by-fy20-goldman-sachs/articleshow/49532128.cms
[2]http://www.pwc.in/assets/pdfs/publications/2015/ecommerce-in-india-accelerating-growth.pdf
[3]http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-12-08/news/68865727_1_indian-smes-alibaba-com-indian-sellers
[4]http://yourstory.com/2015/10/digital-finance-revolution/

Oct 24, 2018

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Coding Guidelines: Programmer’s Daily Bread and Butter

As we work in startup, we are under time pressure to release a lot of new features on time, features which do not have well defined requirements and the complexity of those features is often underestimated and we end up taking a lot of shortcuts / adding hacks to release such time sensitive features.

This may work for a short time, but over the period of time we realize that the same shortcuts that you took to release features quickly are now slowing you down. You can not scale and add new features on top of it, even if you do, they become quite unstable. In this situation you might want to take a step back and revamp/refactor you base system.

One of the easiest things that you can do to avoid this situation is follow coding guidelines.

Coding Standards

Well, what according to you is a good code? The simple definition could be: if it can’t be understood, maintained and extended by other developers then its definitely not a good code. The computer doesn’t care whether your code is readable. It’s better at reading binary machine instructions than it is at reading high-level-language statements. You write readable code because it helps other developers to read your code.

Naming conventions:

As the name suggests, it is a simple concept where you follow a specific naming conventions across teams. This becomes important when your team is growing and are solving problems on daily basis and pushing a lot of code every day.

camelcases vs underscore

This helps a lot when your team becomes big and a lot of developers are working on the same code-base. If you follow some fixed patterns while defining classes/functions/variables names, it becomes really easy for fellow colleagues to understand your code. This directly impacts delivery time taken by a developer to build/modify a feature on top of existing code. For example, let us suppose you want to define a time-stamp field in a database table, how would you name it ? If you have a fixed pattern like a “action_ts” or “action_at” for giving names then you can easily guess what could be the field name in the schema. If its a created time-stamp then it could be either “created_at” or “created_ts”. You do not have to go and check every-time you writing any logic over different database tables.

Function/Module/API writing (Size and Purpose)

Simplicity and readability counts. It’s always better to write to concise code than a messier one so that if any other developer is also looking at it who has no idea, should get what exactly it is doing. Not more than max 10–15 lines. Jenkins is considered as one of the greatest implementations, and has average function length of 2 lines.

A function/module should only do ONE thing and should do it NICELY. By following this, code becomes modular and it helps a lot in debugging. You can solve the problem better and debug faster when you know where exactly it’s coming.

When you are developing features over an established products, more than 50% times, new requirements are of the nature which you can build on top of existing code. In such cases, you can ship those requirements really faster and stable if existing code-base is modular and stable. Writing library functions a savior. There are countless advantages of writing a library code. It avoids code repetition, no surprises when it comes to response formats and of-course code re-usability.

Exception/Error Handling

Unknown errors are real pain in developers life. It’s always better if you know probable exceptions and errors in code in advance. But that is not the case always. Irrespective of all this, you definitely do not want your end-users to see unexpected errors on their screens.

When you have different micro-services and bigger development teams, if you follow standard response formats for across APIs and standard exceptions then there will not be any surprises in production. You can agree upon one format across all the services. Every API can have certain ‘response_data’ and standard set of error-codes. Every Exception will have an error-code and a message. Message could have variation viz, tech specific message and user facing message.

Writing test cases:

If you want to have a good night sleep, then you better have thorough test cases covering almost all aspects of your code. The best way forward with building test cases is at requirement stage only. Whenever a requirement comes, products managers discuss it with developers as well as QA. Both teams start preparing for possible use-cases and test-cases.

A testing unit should focus on one tiny bit of functionality and prove it correct. Each test unit must be fully independent. Each test must be able to run alone, and also within the test suite, regardless of the order that they are called. The implication of this rule is that each test must be loaded with a fresh data-set and may have to do some cleanup afterwards.

Automation plays an important role here. What else is needed for stable product where you have all test cases covered and running at intervals automatically, giving you a report of the all functionalities. Also, whenever you are adding/modifying code, you make sure either you write new test cases or modify existing ones.

coding

Code Reviews:

This one thing save lives, trust me! Every team can benefit from code reviews regardless of development methodology. Initially it takes time if you do not have a procedure setup of doing code reviews, but eventually it becomes a habit. Code review should be one of the core development steps.

Code review generally is about:

  • Does the new code conform to existing style guidelines?
  • Does the written piece of code covers all the use-cases specified in the requirements and has relevant test cases written ?
  • Are the new automated tests sufficient for the new code? Do existing automated tests need to be rewritten to account for changes in the code?

There are several advantages of this process such as –

Code reviews make for better estimates: Estimation is a team exercise, and the team makes better estimates as product knowledge is spread across the team. As new features are added to the existing code, the original developer can provide good feedback and estimation. In addition, any code reviewer is also exposed to the complexity, known issues, and concerns of that area of the code base. The code reviewer, then, shares in the knowledge of the original developer of that part of the code base.

Code reviews mentor new joiners: Code reviews help facilitate conversations about the code base between team members. During these conversations, team members share their views and new alternatives of doing things.

Code reviews take time: It’s an incremental process, where it takes time initially but as your code-base grows, it ensures, you are always pushing verified and tested code.

Hidden truth about code reviews: When developers know their code will be reviewed by a teammate, they make an extra effort to ensure that all tests are passing and the code is as well-designed as they can make it so the review will go smoothly. That mindfulness also tends to make the coding process itself go smoother and, ultimately, faster.

As a fast growing company our self, these set of guidelines have helped us a lot in shipping stable features on time and helping to increase a healthy learning environment.

Source:- Capital Float’s Medium Blog

Oct 24, 2018