To sustain their business growth, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sometimes need additional working capital, and the most direct way of getting it is to apply for a loan.
With business loans coming from banks, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and private money lenders, SMEs have multiple sources to get funding for their operations and expansion. However, these credit options have their pros and cons and should be understood to choose the most helpful alternative.
Secured vs Unsecured Business Loan
Most companies are familiar with the idea of a secured business loan that requires them to offer the lender some collateral as a security against the funding provided. The credit here is issued when the borrower hypothecates a financial asset to the lender. The hypothecation ends only when the entire principal, together with interest and any other associated charges, is fully paid off.
Banks and most other conventional sources of finance are more willing to offer secured loans because from the lender’s point of view, these carry less risk than unsecured funding.
The main advantage for a borrower taking a secured business loan is that the interest on such credit is lower since a guarantee of their asset backs the loan.
Conversely, the challenge is that lenders, particularly banks, accept only selective assets as collateral. They need to ascertain that such an asset can be liquidated in minimum time in case the lender defaults on payment. Due to this condition, many SMEs find it difficult to get secured loans. They may not have assets that are considered as relevant or sufficiently valuable by the lender.
An unsecured business loan, on the other hand, is granted without any collateral. A non-banking finance company with a digital lending model offers such loans based on the creditworthiness of borrowers. If a business has a successful operational history of at least one year, and there are no blots on its previous credit history, it is eligible to get its unsecured business loan from a digitally operating NBFC, also known as a FinTech company.
For an enterprise that has no collateral for business loans, it is natural to opt for an unsecured loan even though the interest charged on this is slightly higher than on secured loans. However, some FinTech companies have created additional benefits with their policies that make unsecured business loan better than secured loans on multiple fronts.
While looking at secured vs unsecured business loan, these are some of the advantages that make the latter more valuable for start-ups and SMEs:
- An unsecured business loan is available for short terms – borrowers can take a working capital loan for a tenure of less than one year and thus avoid the burden of debt on long term.
- A FinTech lending company usually has a fully digital application process for its unsecured loans – it takes less than 10 minutes to complete the application and the documents to verify the information therein can also be uploaded online.
- The time taken to receive funds from a FinTech in the business bank account is less than a week – the application is usually reviewed on the same day when it is submitted, and, if approved, the sum is disbursed in the next 2-3 business days.
- A loan processing fee of up to 2% and the interest rate are usually the only charges on a FinTech company’s unsecured business loan – the borrowers do not have to pay any documentation fee, loan insurance premium, legal fee and other hidden charges.
- The repayment options are more flexible for unsecured loans issued by FinTechs – the borrowers can pay off the loan sooner than the predetermined schedule, and maybe charged a nominal pre-closure charge for making the payment.
For an SME that does not have financial assets to hypothecate and needs faster access to cash, will find unsecured business loan better than secured funding.
Here is a summarised view of the features for Secured Vs Unsecured Business Loan:
|Secured Business loans from Institutional lenders||Unsecured business loans from FinTech companies|
|Collateral required||Backed by a financial asset for collateral||No collateral / Security|
|Advertised interest rate (annual)||Between 12% and 24%||Between 18% and 24%|
|Loan processing fee||>= 2%||<= 2%|
|Extra charges||May have extra charges for documentation, loan insurance and other statutory requirements||No extra or hidden charges|
|Time to get funds into account||1 to 6 weeks||72 hours|
|Loan application process||Digital and paper-based, document-intensive loan application||Fully digitalised loan application and document submission|
|Repayment of loan||Only through EMIs||Flexible repayment options|
Capital Float is a leading FinTech company that asks for no collateral for business loans. We have customised our loans for a variety of business purposes and working capital needs. Our short-term unsecured business loans are issued purely on the creditworthiness of the borrowers and the potential of an organisation to pay back in time. We evaluate every loan application within minutes of its submission to provide the decision on the same day.
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If you have an attractive business opportunity to capitalise upon, do not put off your plans. Talk to a representative in our customer service team at 1860 419 0999 and avail yourself of the benefits of a loan without collateral.
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The Union Budget for FY18-19 was much anticipated, owing to reasons more than one. The first full-fledged financial plan after the introduction of GST and the last one by the Narendra Modi-led government, the most significant event of the Indian financial year is over. With the national polls looming in, the Union Budget rolled out by finance minister Arun Jaitely was favourable towards agriculture, rural development, social infrastructure and digital transformation. However, international mobile phone companies, bond investors, equity servicing institutions and the defence sector are at the not-so-advantageous end of the spectrum. In general, this year’s Union Budget has been a shift from the typical stance of the government that all segments need equal attention.
An industry segment that sees clear growth opportunities is retail. Amidst public opinion that the budget had not mentioned the retail segment, the various provisions have subtle repercussions that will help widen the scope of consumption. Consequently, this will have a long-term impact on retailers, where they can reap benefits from consumers with a higher expendable income.
Here are the key provisions of the Union Budget for FY 18-19 that have relevant implications for retailers.
- Reduction in Corporate Tax
With regards to taxation, the budget has declared a reduction in corporate tax to 25% for companies with an annual turnover of up to Rs 250 crore. This accounts for almost 99% of the companies in India and would have an impact of Rs 7000 crore on government finances. As only 250 companies have a turnover above the threshold value, this is a significant reduction in terms of the business turnover cutoff of Rs 50 crore that had been announced in last year’s budget for the same tax bracket.
This move has resulted in a decrease in the tax burden for small and medium businesses, who can now use these additional funds to purchase inventory or machinery, expand their premises, hire new employees or for marketing activities. In case it does not cover your entire expenses, retailers can also avail easy business finance from digitally-enabled FinTech lenders who provide customized credit products like Merchant Cash Advance.
- Increased Investments in Digital India
Lack of investment in digital infrastructure by the government has always been a pain point that has deterred the productivity and development of startups and small businesses. This is especially true for the e-commerce sector, as rural India is the driving force behind its growth. This year alone, e-tailers recorded a three-fold increase in the number of shoppers in small towns compared to metro cities.
Under the massive Rs 3,073 crore Digital India Program, over 5 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots will be set up to provide broadband access to 20 crore rural citizens in over 2,50,000 villages. This opens up an avenue for individuals in rural India to harness the Internet for trade, banking, logistics and even to avail formal finance from digital lenders. E-commerce retailers can use this opportunity to its fullest, as 55% of the 185 million active consumers are predicted to be from rural India by 2020.
- Changes in Personal Taxation
A welcome move for the salaried middle class, this budget proposed a standard deduction of Rs 40,000 for transport allowance and medical reimbursement. While this may seem irrelevant to retailers, the impact of this allowance does indeed affect them. As personal income increases, so does the disposable component. Consumer behavioral studies ascertain that the disposable income is equitable to spends on retail. Thus, the re-introduction of medical and travel benefits is a favourable budget impact on retailers.
- Refinancing for MSMEs
The micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector plays a major role as India progresses towards becoming one of the biggest economies in the world. Despite contributing a staggering 15% to the country’s GDP with a high market share of 40% towards employment, these businesses have an unmet credit demand of $ 400 billion.
Acknowledging the fact, the budget declared an allocation of Rs 3794 crore to the MSME sector for credit support, capital and interest subsidy on innovation. With this reform in play, the refinancing policy and eligibility criteria under Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) program will be reviewed to encourage easier financing of MSMEs by NBFCs. This impact of the budget on retailers opens plenty of avenues avail formal source of finance in a timely manner.
A unique Aadhaar-like identity for each enterprise will also be implemented for streamlining business identity. This measure can further enable Fintech lenders like Capital Float to process eKYC of enterprises swiftly and offer working capital finance in a matter of seconds.
Oct 24, 2018
Asset allocation, despite its importance in portfolio management, is perhaps the last thing on the mind of the novice investor. Before regaling the virtues of asset allocation, a layman’s definition of asset allocation is perhaps warranted, so here goes: asset allocation is a process by which an investor aims to enhance the risk-reward ratio of a portfolio of risky assets. It is important to stress upon two things here: (1) asset allocation is not a one-time exercise, it is an ongoing process; and (2) the use of multiple asset classes to convert a portfolio of risky assets into a benign money-making machine.
Equipped with a basic understanding of the theory behind asset allocation what is stopping the novice investor from going ahead and enhancing portfolio returns? The reason is that the effect of asset of allocation rests largely on finding asset classes whose returns are uncorrelated with one another – the lower the correlation, the better. For instance, it is popular belief that gold is a hedge against inflation i.e. gold prices and inflation rates move in tandem. Therefore, what one loses in purchasing power is compensated by an increase in gold prices. This, however, is a long term phenomenon i.e. one may witness large deviations in the short term.
The key to benefiting from asset allocation, therefore, is to periodically tweak the portfolio for changes in correlations between asset classes and include new ones with the overall objective of enhancing the risk-reward ratio of a given portfolio. Although this may seem like too onerous a task, the novice investor need not worry. A certain level of diversification via asset allocation can be achieved by following the below steps:
- Ascertain whether you have surplus money to invest – a simple equation of income less expenses. The figure you ascertain will comprise your overall pie available for asset allocation.
- Understand your needs as defined by three key parameters viz. risk appetite, return requirements and time constraints. Your needs are a function of your age, marital status, number of dependants etc.
- Identify avenues to invest in the broadest categories of asset classes viz. equity, debt, commodities, real estate and alternative asset classes.
- Steps 2 and 3 will require a bit of periodic back and forth because the asset class(es) you choose will depend on your needs. E.g. someone with a higher risk appetite may have a higher percentage of equities in the pie than someone with a lower risk appetite. The latter investor may lean towards debt investments.
In summary, the age-old adage of not putting all of one’s eggs in one’s basket applies here. A systematic approach to asset allocation with disciplined and timely execution can ensure that investors, novice and otherwise, hold well-constructed portfolios and therefore benefit from asset allocation.
|Vinay boasts of a decade of experience working in both large and small organizations. His roles have ranged from sales to operations and even a stint in academia. He currently manages affairs in capital markets in Capital Float.|
Oct 24, 2018
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is the single biggest reform in India’s indirect tax structure since the liberalisation of the economy in 1991. Through this reform, the government has integrated the previously disparate segments of the Indian economy and has truly begun the process of creating one market for the entire nation. The idea of a single tax on the supply of goods and services, from manufacturing to delivery to the final consumer, has eliminated the need for sellers to register with multiple tax platforms and file multiple tax returns.
GST is going to have a major impact on e-commerce in the country. Apart from consumers, this trade segment has two key players: the e-commerce marketplaces and the sellers. While e-commerce marketplaces such as Flipkart and Amazon are required to make necessary adjustments to their operations, it is the impact on e-commerce sellers, represented by the thousands of retailers that sell through the marketplace that requires intense scrutiny. Through this blog, we assess the impact of GST on e-commerce sellers and the steps such businesses need to take to ensure regular compliance.
GST-induced taxation changes for e-commerce sellers
Presently, GST appears to be an assortment of compliance guidelines. The enhanced regulatory requirements might take a seller’s focus away from operations for some time. However, GST as a single tax for products across India will be beneficial for all e-commerce sellers in the long run because of the aspect of transparency in trade brought forth by this new indirect tax reform. Let’s discuss the impact of GST on an online seller’s operations:
1. Increased reach of e-commerce sellers: GST has opened avenues for small and medium sized e-commerce sellers to compete with larger enterprises at a national level. Previously, these sellers were limited to operating within the confines of one state due to the looming tax rates of trading across multiple states. By unifying the taxation, e-sellers need not be burdened by multiple taxes while selling to consumers across various states.
2. Compulsory registration required: The government has specified a turnover threshold of Rs 20 lakh for registration under GST. This has been relaxed to Rs 10 lakh for north-eastern states. However, for e-commerce sellers, registration is mandatory, irrespective of whether they fall below the turnover slab of Rs 20 lakh or not. Removal of the threshold for registration will help bring more online businesses into the sphere of taxation.
3. Ineligible for Composition Scheme: E-commerce sellers are not eligible for the Composition Scheme either. The Composition Scheme permits businesses with a turnover of under Rs 75 lakh to file quarterly returns instead of monthly and pay tax at a low rate of 2%. Although this might seem to be a disadvantage for e-commerce sellers, the number of documents required to file for the Composition Scheme is relatively higher, reducing the burden of document collation on the seller.
4. Tax collected at source (TCS): E-commerce marketplaces are required to deduct 2% TCS on the net value of sales as the GST liability of the seller and deposit it with the government. Further, the sales reported by both the e-commerce marketplace as well as the seller need to tally at the end of each month. Discrepancies, if any, will be added to the turnover of the seller and they will be liable to pay GST on the additional amount. This measure will weed out fraudulent sellers and shall subsequently build trust between marketplaces and sellers.
5. Filing of tax returns: The e-commerce sellers need to follow the same process that is followed by brick-and-mortar retailers. Form GSTR-1, containing details of outward supplies, needs to be submitted by the 10th of every month. The seller will receive Form GSTR-2A by the 11th of the same month, which contains details of the tax collected by the e-commerce marketplace. They then need to review and submit Form GSTR-2 by the 15th of the month. Discrepancies in supplies are to be submitted through Form GST ITC-1 by the 21st of the same month. This would require businesses to be particular about tallying data coming from different sources before filing returns. Taking the help of a professional GST services provider in meeting compliance has become a requisite in light of these regulations.
6. Increase in Credit: The GST law has established ‘input tax credit’ to cover goods or services used by a company in the course of business. E-commerce sellers need to establish a direct relationship between the input material and the final product/service is eliminated. Much like other registered entities under GST, e-commerce sellers too can now avail input credit.
7. Refunds under cash on delivery: Consumers extensively opt for ‘cash on delivery’ in India and such sales witness return of orders to the tune of 18%. The reconciliation process for refunds takes around 7-10 days. Initially, there might be confusion around generating refunds for cancelled orders where taxes have already been filed.
The impact of GST on logistics and warehousing
With the Government having done away with multiple layers of tax, GST is bound to reduce costs incurred in e-commerce logistics. This reduction, according to some estimates, could be as high as 20%. Also, with state-level taxes being subsumed under GST, e-commerce platforms can reduce warehousing costs as they need not maintain huge warehouses across multiple locations in India. Such warehouses were earlier operating below their rated capacities, adding to inefficiencies and the selling price of products. Now, e-commerce marketplaces can opt for maintaining a few warehouses at strategic locations. These well-maintained logistics hubs will be able to attract FDI inflows and lead to an increase in overall efficiency in operations. With the free movement of goods and services and a uniform tax rate across states, e-commerce sellers will be free to transport across different locations in India.
The implementation of GST stands to benefit e-commerce sellers, as due to the elimination of entry taxes and faster movement of goods vehicles across states, the last mile delivery costs will come down. This benefit can be passed on to customers. Also, e-commerce marketplaces are now free to source goods from SMEs across India and not just limit themselves to local players across states. They were compelled to do this earlier to save costs on heavy inter-state taxation. Such a move will give impetus to the SME sector in India and foster healthy competition among SMEs, thereby improving the quality of products and services available in India.
There is no doubt that e-commerce will be subject to increased tax compliance and subsequently increased costs. However, in the long run, GST should level the playing field for e-commerce sellers, thereby streamlining their operations and setting the tone for increased business growth
Visit our blog to read more engaging content on GST.
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Oct 24, 2018