With less than 20% of the labor force in India and South East Asia having access to formal credit, BetterPlace, Asia’s largest frontline workforce management SaaS platform, has announced its foray into the financial services sector with the launch of BetterPlace Money. With this comprehensive suite of financial services and offerings, BetterPlace Money aims to make more than 10mn global frontline workers credit worthy by 2025. At the onset, BetterPlace Money will enable enterprises to provide short-term loans for their frontline workers via its SaaS platform. The vertical will benefit more than 4 million workers immediately and will expand to serve BetterPlace’s frontline workforce base across APAC and GCC in the next few months.
India, APAC, and GCC has more than 450mn frontline workers contributing more than 20% to the country’s GDP on an average. However, they are the most underserved cohort when it comes to access to formal financial services. In India alone, only 1 in 10 frontline workers have access to formal credit. Despite this being a large addressable market, formal financial institutions find it difficult to service this segment because of a lack of credit assessment data, distribution channels, and high cost of servicing.
BetterPlace Money aims to solve these problems by leveraging the data and distribution strength of BetterPlace’s full-stack platform. With more than 4mn workers already reaping benefits from the platform every year, BetterPlace Money will enable frontline workers to get easy access to short-term loans at low interest rates, in a simple and hassle-free manner. Moreover, with customizable repayment plans which include EMI and installment plans that suit their needs, borrowers will be able to build and manage a healthy credit score and therefore be eligible to access formal sources of credit and benefits.
Pravin Agarawala, Group CEO & Co-founder at BetterPlace said, “Credit to frontline workers is a $70bn opportunity in India, APAC, and GCC and yet there are no significant players tapping into this market segment. While lack of reliable data and high cost of servicing this segment has prohibited the supply of credit, lack of financial awareness among frontline workers has also restricted the demand. Most frontline workers in our side of the world still rely on informal sources of finance which is not only unsustainable but also puts them in a debt trap placing them just a nudge away from poverty. Having successfully formalized a large chunk of the informal frontline workforce with the power of technology, using our data and distribution strengths to provide access to credit to this segment was a natural progression. We believe that BetterPlace Money has the potential to become the single largest player to provide meaningful and affordable access to credit to the frontline workers around the world and complete the circle of creating a better place for them and their wellbeing.”
BetterPlace Money is being spearheaded by Saurav Gandhi who would lead the efforts in building the new tech-first offering. With over 12 years of experience in the financial sector across firms like PayU, Saurav will bring his expertise to continue simplifying access to various financial products and services including short term loans and early wage access.
“Access to credit in India is facing a dual problem. It is hard to underwrite a formal loan to the underserved segment while at the same time it is only accessible to a small portion of the population. Only 10 percent of the formal credit (mostly secured) goes to 45 percent households of India. To solve this dual problem, we are partnering with quality employers to fulfill the mission of ensuring a win-win arrangement for the workers and the employer”, said Saurav Gandhi.
BetterPlace Money aims to partner with banks and NBFCs in the next 2 years to expand its product offerings to include early wage access, micro insurance and micro investments.