Interview with Bala Parthasarathy, Co-founder & CEO, MoneyTap

Bala has donned many hats in his career. From being a serial entrepreneur to a venture capitalist – he has done it all! With his endless reservoir of energy and passion to ideate, strategize and execute, Bala has over 16 years of experience in the world of start- ups.

Bala was one of the co-founders of Angelprime (now Prime Venture Partners), a seed – stage fund based in Bangalore. From 2011 – 2016 he was deeply involved in companies such as ZipDial (acquired by Twitter), Ezetap, SmartOwner, Vidgyor, Happay, HackerEarth, Synup, Healthify.me, Quizziz and more.

Bala has built three companies, one of them being Snapfish, bought by Hewlett Packard in 2005. As General Manager and MD for Snapfish International, he led its growth into becoming the world’s largest online photo site with 100M+ users, and expansion into 20+ countries in Europe and Asia Pacific.

In his early days, he was a co-founder of iSelect and then Wyatt River Software that was acquired by SafeNet and started his career as one of the early engineers who built Digital Link, which went public in 1993. He has also worked with Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UIDAI, and played a key role in defining the application strategy and developer ecosystem on Aadhaar from 2010- 2011.

His insatiable appetite to see the world has taken him on personal adventures across 80 countries in the world and driven him to acquire fluent spoken Spanish and French and a surprisingly effective grasp of German, Portuguese and Italian. He has climbed the Kilimanjaro, trekked the Andes, Alps and the Himalayas, motor-biked across the African continent, up the highest motor able road in the world at Leh, ridden boats, camels and ramshackle trains – in the quest for experiencing those indescribable moments which have made him what he is. He shares his love for the world and adventure with his wife, Dana and their three kids.

In 2006, he was recognized by University of California, Santa Cruz with its highest honor for alumni as a “Distinguished Alumnus”. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.


Q1. Please tell us about the concept of credit line.

Credit Line is a personal loan that works like a credit card. In short, it’s Personal Loan 2.0

Customers get approved for a credit limit (up to Rs. 5 Lakh), and can choose to withdraw the entire limit at once, or only as much as required (even as low as Rs. 3,000) within seconds. The rest of the limit is available for use again. Interest is charged only on the used limit, and the rates can be as low as 1.08% per month.

Customers can choose flexible EMI options and repay their loan within days or even in years. The limit also gets automatically topped up as soon as the EMIs are paid back. The credit line can be maintained for as long as one wishes, without paying any interest until usage.

Credit Line works for diverse needs such as medical emergencies, home improvement projects, education, travel, etc.

 

Q2. Who is the target customer for this product?

Credit line has been introduced primarily for salaried employees and self-employed professionals who often look for quick, convenient and flexible sources of credit to meet unexpected expenses or to fulfill their lifestyle-related desires.

 

Q3. What is the delivery mechanism for the product

Credit Line is a collateral-free loan. Customers can get their personal credit line within minutes by applying through a quick & easy process on the MoneyTap app.

 

Q4. What is the mechanism for issue and disbursal of credit line?

Once customers provide all the information required by banks, using a chatbot on the app, the app securely connects this information with the banking systems to give them not only an instant approval within minutes but also a credit limit, depending on their individual credit history.

The best part about credit line is that, unlike loans, it is available for a lifetime. The disbursal need not happen immediately. The customers can choose to borrow the full amount or any amount from their limit, and repay it as EMIs over 2 months to 3 years. The credit line gets recharged to the original limit when the EMIs are paid.

 

Q5. What are the interest rate and any other charges if any for availing this credit line?

In a credit line, borrowers have to pay interest only on the used limit, not on the total limit. And the rates can be as low as 1.08% per month.

A one-time line setup fee of Rs. 499+GST is charged to block the credit limit for the customers. Nothing is charged until the final credit approval. Additionally, there’s a nominal transaction charge to transfer money to the bank account, which is shown on the app before every transaction.

There are no hidden fees or charges.

 

Q6. How has been your performance till date and what targets you have set for the current financial year?

Having already clocked an annual run rate of Rs. 500 crore, MoneyTap is targeting an annual run rate of Rs. 2,000 crore of loan disbursals by the next year and looking to grow to more cities.


MoneyTap – India’s First App-Based Credit Line

MoneyTap introduced the concept of a Credit Line (personal line of credit for consumers) for the first time in India when it launched in September 2016. The “Credit Line” means that the bank will issue a limit of up to Rs. 5 Lakh, without any collateral or charging any interest. Against this limit, using the MoneyTap app, consumers can borrow as little as Rs. 3,000 or as much as Rs. 5 Lakh and repay it as EMIs from 2 months to 3 years. The interest is paid only on the amount borrowed and the rates can be as low as 1.08% per month.

The limit also gets automatically topped up as soon as EMIs are paid back. Any salaried employee can use this free Android app and, in a few minutes, using a patent-pending Chatbot interface, provide all the information typically required by banks. The app securely connects with the banking systems to give them not only an instant approval but also a credit limit, depending on individual credit history. As an added convenience for shopping needs, a “MoneyTap RBL Credit Card” is also provided for the user. This is a regular MasterCard Credit Card that is accepted at all locations and for all card purchases – offline and online.

MoneyTap launched the product in with several banking partners. The technology enables MoneyTap to provide instant decision and instant access to money – 24/7, irrespective of holidays. Though all actions are initiated on the MoneyTap app, per RBI guidelines, all financial transactions such as billing, repayment or withdrawals are directly dealt with the bank using secure APIs. Consumers do not have to hold a bank account or any other account with the partner bank to avail MoneyTap.

The MoneyTap app is available on Android Playstore (http://bit.ly/moneytap) to salaried and self-employed professionals. Currently present in 30+ cities, the company is continuously expanding across India and will soon be announcing other cities. Qualified customers, after completing the KYC (right from the app with no paperwork involved), will pay a one-time Line setup fee of Rs. 499 + GST in their first month e-settlement. This includes the cost of issuing the limit for the customer, a Free MoneyTap RBL MasterCard and a slew of other benefits. There are no hidden fees or charges and every time the customer chooses to take an EMI, they will be shown the interest & any other applicable charges and the customer will be required to provide explicit consent before borrowing.