Flipkart is working on a video-based know your customer (KYC) method to offer instant loans to customers on its platform, the Economic Times reported. The company has started a pilot project for digital KYC with about 10,000 customers and will roll this out to more customers in the coming weeks, pending approval from the RBI. Last September the Supreme Court ruled that private companies were not allowed to make Aadhaar-based KYC mandatory for consumers.

The same month, Flipkart launched ‘Cardless Credit’, offering customers instant credit of up to Rs 60,000 for 3 and 12 months. With this, the company hoped to target the 45 million Flipkart users that did not have access to any form of credit, its senior vice-president Ravi Garikipati said. It said it also planned to offer credit services outside its platform and would introduce more financial products in the coming months. Flipkart had launched its first credit service, dubbed ‘buy now, pay later’ for select customers in 2017. However, company said there remained a disparity between its credit offerings and large purchases.

In October 2018 Flipkart entered the insurance segment after securing a corporate agent license, ET reported. The company partnered with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance to offer insurance as part of its mobile phone protection programme. Flipkart has also been offering sellers on its platform access to loans since 2014, through lending partners Capital Float and Lendingkart.

Competition from Amazon

In September 2018 Amazon Pay launched a service to allow customers with no access to credit services nor credit cards to make purchases via EMIs for up to Rs 60,000. Amazon tied up with Capital Float to offer the service, which requires users to complete a two-step registration process to get an assigned credit limit. The company said it would offer zero cost EMIs for loan durations of 3 to 6 months, and charge 18% interest on those between 9 and 12 months. The same month, Amazon India said it would soon offer life, health, and general insurance products as a corporate agent.

In June 2018, Amazon India expanded its Seller Lending Network to enable loans for sellers from third-party lenders such as Aditya Birla Finance, Bank of Baroda, Capital First, Capital Float, Flexiloans, and Yes Bank. The company had launched its seller lending programme in February 2016, partnering with Capital First Limited to provide secured and unsecured loans of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 2 crore to sellers. However, these loans were initially available on an invite-only basis. In September 2017, Amazon India had partnered with Bank of Baroda to offer unsecured microloans to its sellers ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 25 lakh. This too was on an invite-only basis.