BOB Financial Solutions (BFSL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of Baroda (BoB), and CreditAI Fintech (CAI), a Bengaluru based farmer digitisation and credit scoring company have launched Unnati – a co-branded credit card exclusively for farmers. The card has been launched as a contactless offering on the Visa network.
The Unnati Credit Card will empower farmers to avail agricultural inputs in time and at any time during the cultivation cycle. Farmer producer organisations (FPOs) will further help farmers understand and avail the benefits of this card. The Unnati credit card will work in a ‘closed-loop system’ with an ‘end-use monitoring’ feature to both enable and trace agricultural credit to its last mile, CreditAI said.
CreditAI’s proprietary mobile app and inputs shop management system will ensure that the end use of credit is primarily for the purchase of inputs at FPO owned input sales shops. The Unnati credit card is uniquely designed to allow farmers to use credit on a rotation basis so that it avoids delays in renewals. Initially, a base credit limit will be provided and over time, once the farmers’ credit profile improves with more transactions and repayments, the limit could be increased based on the farmers’ personal credit score and their actual cultivation needs.
CreditAI aims to positively impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of farmers, aided by the Unnati credit card, which will first be launched in Karnataka and later scaled across Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and other states in India.
Highlighting the newly launched card, Sangram Nayaka, CEO, CreditAI said, “Indian agriculture sector is in a phase where it is ready to adopt innovations not only in the way cultivation is done using farm mechanisation and automation or sale of produce online, but also in the way, farmers are now banking and accessing credit through digital platforms. The situation smallholders face is high interest loans which can be dire with just one bad loan causing them to lose their farm. On the other hand, lenders too have underwriting challenges for this segment. That’s the very reason penetration of digital lending has not picked up pace as much as in the urban segments.”
You may also like to read: Reliance General Insurance participates in PMFBY’s crop insurance drive – Meri Policy Mere Hath
To overcome these challenges, CreditAI has designed a secure closed-loop cashless network to ensure financial institutions can seamlessly deploy credit using CreditAI’s unique platforms. Repayments are easier and more consistent. On the other hand, there is an enormous potential in the FPOs space for credit facilitation on the inputs side and produce trade.
CreditAI is on that path to enable and strengthen the network of farmers and FPOs. Leveraging on this opportunity and space in the agri credit and lending segment, we have partnered with BFSL to create Unnati, the ‘Co-branded Closed Loop Credit Card system’ focussed on the rural and agri sector. We are sure this innovative credit card offering will make agri credit much easily accessible to farmers,” Nayaka added.
Talking about the launch, Shailendra Singh, MD & CEO, BOB Financial Solutions said, “We are excited to partner with CreditAI which is doing commendable work in bringing technology closer to the farmers through the FPOs’ closed loop networks. The Unnati co-branded credit card will bring seamless access to credit to farmers, as per the requirements of their cultivation cycles. To ensure that the farmers, many of whom will be new to digital or cashless credit, are protected from misuse of their credit card, Unnati will run as a Closed Loop Program and the card can only be used for agriculture-related inputs from the respective FPO network.”
“We thank CreditAI for coming up with this idea and also offering to be involved across the entire customer lifecycle, from identification to onboarding to customer education and repayment assistance. We have also offered a very low rate of interest, should the farmer not be able to repay the entire outstanding in one go. We believe that all the above measures will help in the adaptation of cashless credit among the farmers and this programme will create another example of forward-looking, tech-enabled interventions for Bharat,” Singh added.
Sujai Raina, VP & Head-Business Development, Visa India said “Visa is committed to being a network that works for everyone, everywhere; as such we are delighted to partner with BOB Financial Solutions as they launch this innovative, inclusive digital payments solution with CreditAI. The Unnati Credit Card will offer farmers easy access to credit aligned to their needs and by leveraging the Visa network, it will also provide them with a means to make seamless and secure payments.”