Understanding behavioural shift in development of lending product for Next Billion Users

The traditional banking can be quite tortuous. You have to apply, visit the bank and sit as they wade through your financial details. It can be stressful.

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Ranjit Sarai, a digital banking expert and a start-up advisor rightfully said, “People need banking, not banks”. The past decade has changed the manner of banking for every individual in the country with the emergence of digital lending platforms.


Gone are those days when one had to wait for days to get their loan approved. Thanks to the digital lending platforms and mobile apps, a loan is now literally just a click away. Ever since the India’sdigitization, there has been a constant flow of potential customers joining the internet.

Understanding the requirements and preferences of these users has been the main focus of online service providers.

Recently, the new hot topic in the Indian digital market has been the Next Billion Users i.e. the NBU customer base. Digital lending startups are now targeting the group of users that are coming online for the first time.


The behaviour of the new pool of over 600 mn potential customers are different than the ones available in the market. The NBU customer base is driven by aspirations whereas the existing customer base is driven by needs. Finding faster solutions in less time is the major goal that the NBUs intend to achieve.

Digital lending platforms can leverage their ability to provide solutions in a matter of minutes. The goal that stands in front of these lenders is to determine the aspects in which the NBUs seek a solution.

Below are the Top-4 Mantras that should be the driving force for startups while creating an ideal lending product for the NBUs


1. Speak their language:

Majority of the lending platforms available in the market support only the commonly used languages. However, a very large segment of this user base includes people speaking vernacular languages. Breaking the language barrier will be the first and biggest step in opening a dialogue or starting a consumer-brand relationship with these users. Enabling options of multiple languages will help this product achieve the title of the Ideal lending product for the NBUs

2. Build a long-term relationship with the userbase:


The NBU customer base can be used by the lenders as a one-time database or with a few improvements and upgrades, they can build a long-term relationship with the customers. To do so, it is necessary to gain the trust of these users. ‘Word of mouth’ has proven to work wonders in gaining the trust of the users and also to attract a new userbase. Brands can enable this by working on providing luxury in online lending with faster resolutions, great customer service, and a user-friendly application process.

3. A product for the not-so-tech-savvy userbase:

Until now, the industry has been working towards designing products for tech-savvy users. Startups will now have to change the course of their product designing by working on products for the not-so-tech-savvy userbase. A product that delivers the same and even better services with no hassle. Lenders can design simple online loan application methods that do not require the applicant to be hands-on with technology.


4. Creditworthiness of the next billion users:

Because the NBU customer base is the newbies of the digital world, there is a possibility of them also being new to the lending-borrowing world. Traditional banking heavily depends on the credit bureau score and history of the applicant for loan approvals. However, online lenders should leverage technology in understanding the financial behavior of their applicants. This will help ease the norms and widen the criterion required to determine the creditworthiness of the NBU applicants.

Working on creating the best first impression on the NBU customer base can prove to be a game-changer as it can earn them the loyalty of their customers. Loyal customers not only help in the steady growth of an organization but they also contribute to attracting new customers for the said platform.


Alternatively, the lenders can reach out to more NBUs indirectly by partnering up platforms that also enable services for the said customer base. Online shopping and travel platforms are great examples of such service providers and can prove to be fruitful partners.

Another easier and less time-consuming method is to opt for peer to peer lending. This option helps the lenders to act as investors for certain platforms that perform the task of shortlisting borrowers, matching their details with the requirement of the lender. The said platform can charge a fee on the borrower’s application or repayment as a commission. This lending option helps the organization to maintain a steady flow of consumers without much effort or involvement.

The next billion user pool is fresh, untouched, and massive. With a prefect product and with the right balance of technology, this can redefine the way we approach towards technology.

  • Ranvir Singh, Co-Founder & MD, Kissht