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“As per our norms, we are unable to grant you a credit card at this time.”
Nitya Sharma had just returned to India after a decade of working on Wall Street. To his surprise, Nitya’s bank rejected his credit card application, and why? Because he didn’t already have a credit card. Sharma’s story is the story of Indians at large, most of whom either don’t have or don’t use a credit card. Even to this day, only 29M consumers in India have a credit card compared to 500M consumers with a smartphone and 850M consumers with a bank a/c & debit card.
While Nitya was struggling with the hassles of getting a credit card, local businesses, (also known as a Kirana store), were offering to open a tab or khaata for him. That, after all, is how the majority of India experiences both credit and a seamless payment experience. That was the Aha! moment for Nitya. “What if we use today’s technology to reimagine a Khata for the internet and put it on a mobile phone?” he wondered. And that’s how Simpl was born.
The plan was to rethink the credit card from the ground up, using the best of modern technology to benefit both customers and businesses. In Simpl’s new credit system, the relationship between you and the merchant would be on the forefront of the commerce experience, just like the khaata at your local kirana store.
What is Simpl?
Simpl is a mobile-first payment platform that is reimagining payments driven by trust, relationship, and loyalty between merchants and their consumers. We achieve this through frictionless checkout, POS credit and data-driven loyalty.
At Simpl, we believe that the best payment experience is no payment experience. We aim to eliminate all payment-related stress for customers. With Simpl’s Pay-Later feature, users can skip paying repeatedly. Instead, they get one bill for all their orders across merchants. But that’s not all. Since we started thinking about our online khata, the idea turned out to have a lot more to offer than just credit and convenience.
By giving customers the option to pay later, merchants can not only offer the ease of one-tap payments, but also extend a hand of trust. This paves the way for a lasting relationship between merchants and customers. Kirana stores have known this secret for decades. With Simpl, we aim to bring this competitive edge of customer trust and loyalty to the digital marketplace.
What are the Benefits of Simpl?
Simpl is committed to eliminating the flaws that credit cards suffer from. We offer the best payment experience to the users of our merchant partners. Just by using Simpl, merchants give customers a whole range of benefits, including one-tap checkout, instant refunds, zero interest, 99% successful transaction rate, a digital vault, and 24*7 customer support.
With Simpl, both customers and merchants are better off. When we put this all together, it swept us off our feet! Take a look at the many reasons that both merchants and customers should be using Simpl:
At Simpl, we’re really driven by the idea of empowering merchants, big or small, to build trusted relationships with their best customers. The fact that this all adds up to a superior, no-stress payment method for customers is just the cherry on the top.
Challenges That Simpl Tackled
One of the biggest challenges we’ve overcome is credit decisioning. Which users should be allocated credit, and how much? In answering these questions, machine learning has become an indispensable part of Simpl. 100% of our credit decisions are made by machine intelligence with no human involvement.
To make credit allocation decisions, we process 100+ features including user behaviour on the merchant platform, behaviour of similar users historically, signals from app installation etc. We run this data through an ensemble model which is a mix of decision trees, gradient boosting, Bernoulli Naïve Bayes classifiers, and simple logistic regression.
Another important aspect of payments is anti-fraud. We have experimented with repurposing time series prediction models and building our own flavour of the same to predict suspicious transactions. Just by using Simpl, customers are immediately better off than giving their bank details to thousands of merchants. We plan on enhancing our cybersecurity features even further in the future.
Leveraging the power of cutting-edge tech, we’ve been able to scale quickly and seamlessly. Since launching in 2015, Simpl is now closing in at 4500 merchants across India. We have established some major partnerships in this time; a notable one, in particular, is our distribution partnership with Razorpay. This has allowed us to onboard 1500 new merchants in just the last 3 months.
Simpl acquires users directly from our merchant network at the point of sale. This has made us extremely efficient in our Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). We currently have 7 million users and have facilitated over 45 million transactions between customers and merchants. We’re proud of the work we do and hope to do it on an even larger scale going forward.
Can you imagine having your bills paid automatically? In Part II of this series, we’ll take a look at another exciting feature of Simpl: Billbox. Stay tuned.