[App Friday] Multipl demystifies the world of finance by making saving easy

Rated 4.5 out of 5 on the Google Play Store where it has more than 50,000 downloads, Multipl is a financial planning app that’s easy to use, even for beginners.
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In an episode in The Office, manager Michael Scott asks the accounting guy to explain something as if he were five years old. Called ELI5 — ‘explain like I’m Five’, this is a very common phenomenon when it comes to anything related to finance.

Indians today are more financially aware and educated than they’ve ever been, thanks to fintech startups that not only demystify the world of finance for the rest of us, but also make it more accessible and more affordable.

Investment apps like Zerodha, Upstox, and Groww helped bring over 14.2 million people as retail traders to the financial markets in FY21, according to data from National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) and Central Depository Services Ltd (CDSL) showed.

Today, retail investors — people like you, the reader, and this writer — constitute 45 percent of the total market participants on the National Stock Exchange — a clear majority, as things stand today.

Fintechs apps are at the forefront of innovation today, packaging all sorts of financial instruments in ready-to-eat, palatable and user-friendly formats. Some give you the power to grow a virtual tree or a plant every time you save money, others help you invest your spare change for that Starbucks coffee in mutual funds.

One such platform is Multipl — a unique app that lets people save money for fixed goals, and invest that money either in market instruments, or with brands associated with that end goal.

For example, if one wanted to save money for a trip to Australia, they could create a "goal" on the app and start saving ahead of time. The savings could either be invested in mutual funds, where they would continue to accrue better interest rates than a savings account or a fixed deposit, or sign up to save that amount with a travel website — say, Yatra.com, in lieu of which Yatra would offer deeper, exclusive discounts and other perks like free nights stay or discounted flight tickets.

The app was created by Multipl Fintech Solutions, a Bengaluru-based startup founded by Paddy and Jags Raghavan, and Vikas Jain in 2020. The app aims to help people 'enjoy life, debt free', and encourage people to move away from the 'buy now, pay later' model that has been garnering traction these days.

The app interface

Multipl’s interface is wonderful and smooth. A simple sign-up lets you in, and then you start the KYC process. Before you even get to KYC though, Multipl lets you sample the platform and see the sort of options there are.

The KYC is standard and as per SEBI guidelines. Setting up the profile requires details such as occupation, marital status, monthly income, and expenditures. The investor information section also asks for a lot of details, such as total assets, total investments, outstanding loans, etc. It might seem a tad tedious, but all this is mostly regulatory compliance, mixed with data that Multipl uses to create a profile of sorts on the user so that it can offer smart, calculated investment suggestions.

Once all that is out of the way, Multipl’s home screen starts offering users some pre-set goals they can start saving for. These include travel, jewellery, home, festival, kids education, festivals, etc. You can also create your own goals in case the list doesn’t have what you’re looking for, and start saving up.

The app does not charge users anything right now, but plans to eventually come out with a subscription service charged annually to be able to sustainably grow the business. Paddy told YourStory in a previous interaction that the startup was considering a Rs 999 annual subscription fee in the future.

There’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to defining what the saving and investing process looks like.

For example, the app lets you choose if you want to save monthly, or a lumpsum amount, how long you want to save (six months or more), and what the end-goal amount is. Things like electric bikes (which Multipl has partnered with Ather Energy for) could have a fixed amount, but even there you can enter a custom amount in case you think you might want to add any accessories separately.

An interesting feature is the ‘Journey’ tab, where Multipl shows you how close or far away you are from your goal — and the graphical representation is quite alluring. It also maps it out for you in a one-quick glance sort of way.

The third main tab on the app is the ‘Rewards’ page, where you earn Mbits — Multipl coins — every time you add more money to your savings kitty. These coins can be redeemed for teas, gadgets, fashion accessories, fitness products, subscription services, games and hobbies items, jewellery, among a host of other things. While on other apps you normally get rewarded for spending, on Multipl, you get rewarded for saving, which, combined with the ‘Journey’ tab, really helps you focus on the latter.

Verdict

Multipl is definitely unique in the space it operates in.

You don’t just get a reward in the long term (the item or ‘goal’ you’ve been saving for, and a debt-free life), but also in the shorter term in the form of Mbits that you can redeem for a variety of gifts. So you’re compelled to save more.

Also, because you’re able to customise your saving, and earn much better benefits by saving directly with brands, you get good value for money, ultimately.

The app has a ready reckoner as soon as you sign in that walks you through how the platform works, which was extremely helpful. There’s a lot of other handholding too on the app, in terms of doing KYC, setting a goal, the details of the goal which is particularly helpful if you decide to save with a brand, among other things.

Once you reach the final screen where you pick your saving options, clicking on the ‘i’ icon near the “Save with Market” text pulls up a whole timeline of the saving journey you’d be undertaking, including the ‘withdraw’ feature. That visualisation is extremely effective in putting things into perspective when it comes to what your user journey would be like on the app.

Where Multipl could improve is allowing comparisons — a cost-benefit analysis — between choosing the market investing option and the brand saver option so users understand where they can get the most bang for their buck.

For example, if you want to save up to buy a robovac, the app should be able to show you how much money you could earn in ROI in a mutual fund, and how much you could save via discounts and cashback if you saved with Milagrow (a robotic vacuum cleaner brand Multipl has partnered with).

Other than that, there’s really nothing to dislike about the app. The graphics are modern and the interface, is clean, the three main tabs are not too cluttered, navigation is easy, and, most importantly, the service being offered is unique.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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