Ananya Pathak

“We’ve seen increased interest in mutual fund and digital gold investment”: Siddharth Mehta, Freecharge

The platform’s recent campaign, featuring Rahul Dua, focuses on ‘easy mutual fund investments’. We spoke to the payments app’s CEO about the service.

Freecharge, the Gurugram-based digital marketplace for financial services, is out with its latest campaign. A series of five digital ad films, featuring comedian Rahul Dua, the campaign is a part of the brand’s user awareness campaign for mutual funds (MFs).

The campaign addresses concerns related to MF investment product. It is a light-hearted approach made to help uncomplicate the user’s journey of MF investment.

Founded in August 2010, Freecharge services are available across a range of financial instruments, including savings, payments, insurance, investment and lending. Mainly considered a payments app, the brand launched MFs last year. Along with letting users invest in MFs, the platform also has a host of financial products, like credit card, digital gold, FD, insurance and lending options, available.

Freecharge’s CEO Siddharth Mehta told afaqs! that MFs were added to the brand’s portfolio to further strengthen the company’s digital financial services.

“Our offerings have always focused on convenience and simplicity. We also focus on products which are most relevant to the digital natives, and support their needs and preferences. We saw a huge opportunity in the MF category where consumers do have an interest, but hesitate to invest for many reasons.”

Before joining the platform, Mehta worked with Axis Bank. Freecharge is a subsidiary of this bank. He has also worked with Citibank for close to nine years, HDFC for over a year and Hyundai India for almost the same time period.

Siddharth Mehta
Siddharth Mehta

Mehta says that customer centricity is at the heart of what the brand does. He also says the brand’s continued focus has been on the ‘ease of making transactions’ for its customers.

“And for the same, we keep developing tailored products, which are fundamentally much more digital in nature so that they can be exposed digitally, marketed digitally and consumed digitally. The intent is to offer a frictionless user journey and build a holistic financial services platform.”

Speaking about the current campaign, Mehta points out that MF is a complex product. “While stock trading is considered risky, in the case of MFs, users can decide their risk level. However, a lot of prospective investors don't understand this and, therefore, end up missing out on the opportunity to invest in MFs. We felt that someone like Rahul Dua will be able to present the topic in a simple manner by making it contextual for our TG.”

Mehta mentions that in the current and evolving market scenario, the trend of investing in MFs is increasing. The factors that are contributing to this are a wide variety of product offerings, including tax saving, liquid, equity, hybrid funds and consistently good returns.

“At Freecharge, we aim to simplify this purchase decision for consumers by offering a clutter-free online purchase flow, relevant information to make a purchase decision and value research ratings of the funds to showcase top performers within the app.”

Mehta also points out that a lot of app users are taxpayers, who are always looking at avenues of saving tax. One of the campaign films talks about the benefits of ELSS mutual funds for this reason. “Our intent is to build consumer confidence, as they take the first step towards investment.”

When asked about the brand’s target audience, Mehta responds with the mobile first generation, millennials. A large number of them are not seasoned investors, but they are looking at investment options that are easy to comprehend.

“They also consider the ‘ease of use’ interface as a primary factor that draws their interest to use an app. Mutual fund investment through Freecharge is completely paperless. Users can do their video KYC to start their investment journey.”

Mehta claims that the platform has seen an increased interest in MF and digital gold investment. He credits this to digital adoption, spurred by Internet penetration, which has gained momentum and is likely to continue.

“The pandemic has changed the way we work, or consume. While most of us are sticking to basics - not going out often, maintaining social distancing, etc., traditional consumption has seen a paradigm shift.”

“While the inclination, pre-COVID, to embrace digital offerings was gradual, the current scenario will facilitate a much faster acceptance of the same. Additionally, Tier-II cities will also add significantly to the volumes,” Mehta adds.

Out of the five films, which are part of Freecharge ’s latest campaign, four have been released. The last one will be out in the coming weeks. Freecharge’s internal team worked directly with Dua and his team on this campaign.

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