Digital payments company MobiKwik has announced the launch of a new service that will offer instant loans of Rs. 5000 on its application. The service, conceived in partnership with Bajaj Finserv, is designed to target new to credit (NTC) customers as well as small business owners in the country, a release from MobiKwik said. A ‘new to credit’ customer is an individual who does not have any credit score and generally ignored by most banks for sanctioning credit.

Earlier reports suggested that for credit assessment of the borrowers, MobiKwik has developed its own model called ‘Mobiscore’, based on around 400 variables.

Long due entry into lending space

This announcement, as we pointed out earlier, was largely expected because the Reserve Bank of India’s new KYC norms led to a dip in the usage of mobile wallets and have had an impact on the core product of most payment companies. As such, MobiKwik was seen shifting its focus on creating a lending business. It is to be noted that, Bajaj Finance, the lending arm of the Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC) Bajaj Finserv, bought a 10.83% stake in MobiKwik for Rs 225 crores last year as a part of a strategic deal between the companies, that allows MobiKwik to offer lending services.

Furthermore, with the appointment of Vinayak N as the new head of the Lending Business at MobiKwik last month all but confirmed the company’s foray into the lending space. Last month, MobiKwik also invested Rs 2 crore in a data science startup Pivotchain Solutions, which built exclusive AI and deep learning models for MobiKwik. MobiKwik at the time said that the model will help the payment company to roll out numerous lending products to address the credit requirements of its user base. Press reports also suggested that the company is planning other lending products, apart from rolling out investment products like mutual funds.

To face competition from Paytm

MobiKwik’s biggest competitor Paytm is also reportedly trying to enter the lending space and is seeking a licence from the central bank to become a peer-to-peer lending platform.

Paytm Money, the payments company’s wealth management arm is set to begin operations as soon as the company receives approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). It was reported that One97 Communications, Paytm’s parent company, will invest $10 million upfront in the newly created wealth management arm.