BOB Financial, CreditAI launch co-branded credit card Unnati for farmers

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, March 09, 2022, 06:21 PM IST
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The 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../Representative image | Dmitriy Shironosov

BOB Financial Solutions Limited (BFSL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of Baroda (BoB), and CreditAI Fintech Pvt Ltd (CAI), a Singapore and 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, it said in a press statement.

Features

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 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’s proprietary mobile app and inputs shop management system will ensure that the end use of credit is primarily for purchase of inputs at FPO owned input sales shops.

The credit card is designed to allow farmers to use credit on rotation basis so that it avoids delays in renewals. Initially, a base credit limit will be provided and over time, once the farmer’s credit profile improves with more transactions and repayments, the limit could be increased based on the farmer’s personal credit score and their actual cultivation needs.

To be launched first in Karnataka

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.

Speaking at the launch, Sangram Nayaka, CEO, CreditAI saidIndian Agri 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.”

Talking about the launch, Shailendra Singh, MD & CEO, BFSL said “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 have also offered a very low rate of interest, should the farmer not be able to repay the entire outstanding in one go.”

Claire Pribula, Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Yield Lab Asia Pacific said, “Smallholder farmers provide 80 percent of the world’s produce. This roll out with BOB Financial is a critical first step to supporting smallholder farmers to produce more sustainably.”

Sujai Raina, VP & Head-Business Development at Visa India, said “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 a means to make seamless and secure payments.”

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