writes copy 07 Mar 2022

5 fintech startups that are making financial inclusion a reality in rural India

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The Financial Inclusion Index, which quantifies the extent of financial inclusion based on ease of access, the extent of usage, inequality and deficiency in services, extent of financial literacy and consumer protection, remains 53.9 out of 100 for India, with 11.7 percent of adults not having a bank account. While PM Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and the Reserve Bank of India's efforts have brought large swathes of underserved individuals under the banking framework, data uncovers that more than 85 percent of bank accounts are inactive or have non-active users.


According to the Reserve Bank of India(RBI), digital transactions in India were worth Rs 4,371 crore in 2020-2021. In 2019-2020, the number was Rs 3,412 crore.


According to an RBI report, banks set up 4.94 lakh micro ATMs by the end of August 2021, which was around 60.9 percent more than the previous year.


Here are five fintech startups that are actively working on enabling financial inclusion in rural India:

Ezeepay

Established in 2018 by Shams Tabrej, Rashid Ali, and Dilkash Ara, Ezeepay is a fintech startup that focuses on serving the rural sector. It aims to solve the underpenetration of financial services in rural India. It currently works in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand, and is seeking to expand into South Indian markets.

'œOur mission is to take banking to every rural household and solve the issue of banking in rural areas across the country. We offer convenience to our customers,' Shams told YourStory in an earlier conversation.

Since its inception in 2018, Ezeepay has created a user base of around 2.7 lakh people. It has recorded more than one lakh downloads of its application, and its retail client reach is almost one crore.

Jai Kisan

Started by Arjun Ahluwalia and Adriel Maniego in 2017, Mumbai-based rural fintech platform Jai Kisan intends to make financial inclusion a reality for rural people and companies. The startup offers digital financial services assistance, beginning with credit for online and income-generating, rural commerce transactions.

Founders of Jai Kisan

Jai Kisan is building a rural fintech full-stack stage to take care of the financial needs of clients in the country's developing business sectors. The startup is working with 700+ organised and unorganised entities in the space, with an aggregate client base of over 1.5 lakh provincial people, including farmers. The startup raised $30 million in Series A funding in May 2021.

"We set out on the mission to change the way financial services are delivered to rural customers. Over the past few months, we have built a diverse book while ensuring delivery of credit instantly and more importantly '“ cheaply, across 10 states including the most backward parts of the country,Arjun Ahluwalia, Co-founder and CEO, Jai Kisan said.

pSwitch

Fintech startup pSwitch was launched in 2020 in Noida as a push for financial inclusion in India, and enable digital transactions in rural and semi-metropolitan regions where internet availability is a challenge. Earlier, the startup worked as a financial inclusion Business Correspondent (BC) with banks in Tier-I to Tier-VI areas and through its tech-empowered agent network. 


The startup aims to make the largest network of last-mile retail locations in India to benefit from financial inclusion, social inclusion, Digital India, skill development, employment, government programmes, and more. Since 2020, it has been offering doorstep banking services including domestic cash transfer, cash withdrawals, prepaid cards, travel booking, central, and state government services like eDistrict etc.

FIA Global

Founded in 2012, FIA Global offers an extensive setup of financial services, including account opening, payments, money transfers, worldwide settlements, credit, insurance, and mutual funds. FIA additionally has a countrywide distribution network servicing 30 million clients. The startup intends to cater to 10 crore people with its neo-banking services across India, Nepal and Bangladesh in the next two to three years


Over the past two years, FIA has invested in Machine Learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to foster technology solutions that cultivate financial inclusion. FIA's AI-fueled financial inclusion platform FINVESTA aggregates, plans and conveys sachet financial items products to low-pay clients through its network of 25,000 inclusion centres.

Dvara SmartGold

Founded by Jaydeep Banerjee and Sanjeev Agarwal in 2019, Dvara SmartGold is a Mumbai-based microsavings-led fintech startup, effectively promoting micro-savings to spur and help weaker families create financial safety nets. Dvara SmartGold is a drive of the "Dvara Venture Studio" cohort that encourages entrepreneurs to work towards implementing large-scale change in the financial inclusion space. Around 80 percent of Dvar SmartGold clients are women, with an average investment savings of about Rs 560 every month, whereas the household family pay is about Rs 1,500-2,500 every month.


Dvara SmartGold presently has more than 70,000 clients and expects to open its incentive for 400 million+ underserved Indians by assisting them with saving more through micro-investment funds and accomplishing their financial goals by offering liquidity and security. Recently, the startup raised $2 million in Pre-Series A round.


Edited by Kanishk Singh

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