Published: 26th October 2020
Here's how this online platform is making managing finances 'Funq-y' for students
Kochi-based start-up Paysack's platform Funq is making it cool for students to manage their own finances at an early age. We find out how
Managing their own finances is a skill every youngster needs to learn early on in this day and age. With a large number of students opting to stay away from their families for higher education, managing expenses, beginning to save at the start of their careers is the need of the hour. In order to address this issue, Kochi-based FinTech start-up Paysack founders Ricky Jacob and his brother Nicky launched what they claim to be the world’s first student banking platform, Funq, in February this year. Funq provides students with the combination of an easy-to-use wallet and a prepaid bank-like debit card for them to be financially independent. The platform majorly targets academic institutions and the student community through the model of partnerships with banks and other companies.
If we consider young people, there are various areas where the money comes in — pocket money or monthly allowance. As students, if they spend in traditional ways, parents have no clue how they spent the money or how. Students can have a single-holder bank account only after they are 18, otherwise, they have joint accounts or minor savings account. This is where the Funq platform comes in — a lightweight way of providing a combination of a wallet and a bank card where students can have a zero-balance account, with no physical paperwork or bank service charges, fines for not maintaining minimum balance and more. "Funq works on the prepaid card concept. It teaches students to manage money, budget things, have an idea of their spending. One can't have a balance of more than one lakh on our wallet card and that's where the student community fits in perfectly. School children below the age of 18 can also access the platform as the card is linked to a parent's KYC and can be locked or unlocked by them. They can also look at the spent data in almost real-time. The platform will help inculcate the habit of savings and understand the value of money from an early age. Children and students can have virtual goal-based budgets which they can adhere to," Ricky adds.
Paysack, the umbrella start-up, which was founded by the duo in 2015, back then started as a mobile wallet and gradually evolved to a card-based solution. "We partnered with a major bank then and launched a multi-wallet card — food, fuel and general expenses. The differentiating factor for the Paysack wallet card was that money which is allocated for food can only get spent on food at grocery-related outlets. As a user, you will use it as a general debit card but the balance is restricted in various wallet categories. The idea of Funq came up when at some point, we got our first customer who wanted to digitise the campus of an educational institution. Nationalised or privatised banks have tie-ups to provide accounts to students in various colleges, but now what they wanted was to provide completely digitised solutions on campus. We started with the idea of a student's ID card that can be converted into payment cards. We print the IDs on NFC cards which you can just tap and pay. In this case, the bank had a branch outside the college so the student can bring cash and executives can help them top up the wallet with verification of the ID. We think this could be relevant across campuses, even after COVID-19 as a means of complete contactless payments," explains the co-founder.
Further, Ricky says that they want to partner with campuses. "These kinds of solutions can be taken up in places like hospitals also for in-house payments. It will be beneficial for such organisations as they don't have to lose for example Rs 2 as service charge to the bank for every transaction. On the platform, now everything is in English, we would like to go multilingual to make it more personalised," concludes Ricky.