By Srinath Srinivasan
Today, with the rise of fintech applications it is possible for anyone to buy gold in small amounts. The same gold can be digitally traded if required.
What started as one such service for indiagold has turned into a comprehensive application, bringing gold loan and locker services onto a single platform. Co-founded by former Paytm executives Nitin Misra and Deepak Abbot, the startup aims to facilitate gold loans and other related services. “Indians buy a lot of gold with household reserves at over 25,000 tonnes. However, lending against gold is largely unorganised and underserved by banks and NBFCs,” says Misra.
With digital, indiagold not only wants to organise this sector but also remove the stigma of taking gold loans. “Taking loans against gold is usually considered a defeat in life and is stigmatised in our society. With our digital services, we minimise the human interaction and completely bring down the need to take the gold to a bank or NBFC branch,” says Misra.
Upon a request for a gold loan from a customer via the indiagold app, a representative is sent to her house with necessary equipment to weigh and value the jewellery and pack it safely for transportation. With photos and other proofs in place, the customer’s loan amount is sanctioned on the spot and is credited directly to her bank account. “It is only after the customer receives the money that our representative leaves the place,” says Misra.
The startup works with registered lenders to grant loans. “Since we manage the lender’s money, we make our commission from them. The customer only pays the interest for the loans as with any traditional lender,” says Misra. For the locker service, the startup collects the jewellery from the customer’s location in a biometric enabled safe and takes it to the storage facility of the partner institution. It charges a fee of Rs 99-249 depending on the plan and provides insurance for all plans, which as per Misra, was not available with traditional locker facility at banks.
The customer gets to track the whole process from pickup till storage from the app for both gold loan and gold locker services. “Our app also enables our customers to take loans against the jewellery in their lockers. This has helped our customers during Covid-19 pandemic when they ran out of credit and cash availability during emergencies,” shares Misra. With over 198,000 transacting customers, indiagold has been on a roller coaster ride since 2020. “The lockdowns impacted our business and expansion plans initially. But our digital gold service was already popular which made customers use our gold loan and locker facilities,” says Misra. With operations in Delhi-NCR currently, the startup aims to expand to other cities soon.