Spice Money launches zero-investment plan for rural youth

·3-min read

New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI) Fintech company Spice Money on Thursday announced the launch of a zero-investment programme for rural youth and job seekers to become banking correspondent on its platform for financial services.

It is the first-of-its-kind zero investment entry programme that allows rural entrepreneurs to be a part of Spice Money Adhikari network completely free of cost, the fintech firm said while unveiling the facility.

The limited period zero-investment programme will shape Spice Money's vision to digitally and financially empower 1 crore rural entrepreneurs across the country, and strengthen the company's digital payments ecosystem in semi-urban and rural areas, it said.

'We are a digital BC (banking correspondent) platform, we want to increase the income of everyone in rural India. The entrepreneurs get paid on every transaction they undertake on this platform. They can make up to Rs 50,000 per month,' Spice Money Founder Dilip Modi said.

Till yesterday anyone who wanted to come on board had to pay Rs 1,500 and a monthly rental of Rs 60 to start delivering financial services to their communities. Plus they had to pay up to Rs 2,500-3,000 to buy a device, he added.

Spice Money offers cash deposit, Aadhaar enabled payment system for cash withdrawal, mini ATM, insurance, loans, bill payments, airtime recharge, tours & travel, online shopping, pan card and mPoS services through its Adhikaris (entrepreneurs).

It also acts as a cash collection centre for customer/ agents/ representative of NBFC/banks.

More than 90 per cent of its network reside in semi-urban and rural India.

'There is going to be no entry fee to come on board as a Spice Money Adhikari. Of course, there is a process of KYC, there is no monthly rental.

'And Rs 3,000 cost for device and banking kit, we have significantly brought it down... is to get paid back to the Adhikari over a period of 15 months, so even the cost of the device becomes free. So if you look at it, overall Rs 5,000 is being invested per Adhikari on behalf of the company for them to come on board and start serving the communities around them,' Modi said.

The company said it is also waiving the rental fees for all existing and new Adhikaris to encourage them to continue their journey of entrepreneurship and self-reliance.

To further accelerate its vision of financial inclusion, the company has introduced an initiative where Adhikaris will get the company's micro-ATM or Mini Magic devices at effective zero cost.

The move will aid in strengthening the ATM infrastructure in the country, especially in rural regions.

Spice Money has around 5 lakh Adhikaris onboard its platform currently, and over 65 per cent of them are below 30 years of age.

Asked about how it will impact the company's profitability, Modi said: 'At Spice Money, we are already a profitable venture. We have the unique opportunity of having both growth as well as healthy margins and profits going forward. But in the next 12-18 months, we are taking a view of growing the platform and the zero investment...the investment that we are making to be able to drive more and more transactions.

This programme will enable migrant workers, kirana store owners, job seekers, fresh graduates, housewives and others to join the Spice Money Adhikari network and secure self-employment and other livelihood opportunities in their hometowns.

At present, 65 per cent of over 5 lakh Adhikaris on Spice Money's network are below 30 years, many of them are budding entrepreneurs in their own rights.

The company said it is working on a war-footing to expand financial inclusion across the country, covering over 18,000 pin codes, over 700 districts and more than 5,000 blocks.

Bollywood actor Sonu Sood who has recently partnered with Spice Money said: 'As I have witnessed the struggles of thousands of migrant workers during the lockdown, it is time to come forward and help the less privileged earn their own livelihood in the towns and villages where they reside'. PTI BAL BAL