Coronavirus: BharatPe expects to disburse Rs 700 Cr to shopkeepers in next 5 months as lockdown eases
Merchant payment and lending service provider BharatPe expects to disburse around Rs 700 crore in the next five months as the demand for capital by shopkeepers is set to rise with the lockdown starting to ease out, its Co-founder and CEO Ashneer Grover said on Monday.
The company, offering digital payments solutions to shopkeepers and merchants, got into the lending business around eight months ago and disbursed around Rs 140 crore till the lockdown began in the third week of March.
During the lockdown period, there has been no growth in loan demand as only 20 percent of the shopkeepers under BharatPe's fold were open, Grover said in an interview with PTI.
He added that going forward, the need for working capital such as stocking up for inventory and rental payments is expected to go up as the lockdown restrictions eased from Monday.
"So, shopkeepers will need working capital, and our expectation is that the need for loan will convert into demand for loan now onwards. From today (Monday), a lot more shops have opened...therefore, there will be high demand for loans in the next two to three months, or up to Diwali.
"In the next five months, we can do five times of what we did in the last five months. So, if we have disbursed Rs 140 crore loan so far (till lockdown), we can easily disburse up to Rs 700 crore in the next five months," Grover said.
The company provides low-cost loan at an interest rate of 2 percent to merchants on its platform against the digital transaction volume generated during a month. The loan tenure varies from three to 12 months.
BharatPe on Monday also announced two additional features on its app for the merchants — Paisa Bolega and BharatPe Balance.
With Paisa Bolega — voice alerts of transactions — shopkeepers will be able to hear aloud instant confirmation of all payments received through their BharatPe QR, without touching the phone.
Paisa Bolega is a button introduced in BharatPe app. This converts the shopkeeper's smartphone into a loud speaker, announcing the value of transaction received.
This does away the need for the merchant to check his phone repeatedly to see if money has come in, it said, adding that there will be no need to maintain any additional device.
BharatPe Balance will give information about the total money available to the shopkeeper across deposits, loans and daily collections through quick response (QR).
It provides a single snapshot of the shopkeeper's daily QR collections, balance in 12 percent interest account and the loan limit. This gives the shopkeeper single snapshot of his business and capital available to him, the company said.
During the lockdown, the company has seen business per merchant go up significantly as both customers and shopkeepers prefer contactless QR payments, BharatPe said in a release.
Average ticket size has gone up 70 percent from Rs 300 to Rs 500 as customers shop more for essentials, albeit less frequently, it added.
Grover said, "We believe in offering solutions that are affordable and easy to use. Our new instant voice alerts on transaction product (Paisa Bolega) is free, compared to a competing payment player who is giving Chinese speaker devices to do the same voice alerts and is charging hundreds of rupees from merchants for it."