Aishwarya Ramesh

Decoding neobanking app Jupiter and its solutions

Jupiter has been grabbing eyeballs with IPL and digital ads. A conversation with the marketing head about disruption in the banking sector.

India’s banking and finance sector has seen massive disruption from several fintech players over the last few years. Companies like Simpl, Sezzle, postpe, etc., which specialise in buy now pay later (BNPL) offerings, are the latest players to target young consumers. Jupiter - a neobanking platform - is one such disruptor.

Jupiter has been running ads during the ongoing Tata IPL 2022 tournament. The ads feature actor Rajkummar Rao having conversations with his friend about the different features of the Jupiter app. It has also been advertising heavily on digital platforms and have indulged in influencer marketing in the past.

Apurv Narang, head of growth and marketing at Jupiter, says that the company wanted to disrupt the banking system because the next set of users, who will be banking in the next 10-15 years, will not be satisfied with their current banking experience.

“We knew that the entire population between 21 and 45 years were not being served right by the existing banking products. This is the gap we identified for disruption. There were already disruptions in the lending space or the buy now pay later space, but not in the banking space itself.”

On the different user profiles, Narang states, “From 21-25 is when people have their first taste of financial independence. From 25 onwards, they look at saving money. From 28 onwards, users are concerned about investing their money in, say, mutual funds or the stock market so that their money grows.”

Apurv Narang
Apurv Narang

The company’s addressable 8-12 crore audience includes working professionals and contributes nearly 80 per cent to India’s retail banking sector that is worth around $100-120 billion.

Jupiter has a finance management section, which gives insights to users on how to spend money. It allows them to use personalised tags on transactions to classify spending, the way they like.

Earlier, if a person wanted to track his expenses, he’d likely go to the banking apps and try to identify individual transactions and figure out which merchant had charged him how much. Jupiter aims to change that by bringing artificial intelligence (AI) into expense tracking.

A screenshot from the Jupiter website
A screenshot from the Jupiter website

Narang points out that it was a gap that most banking apps weren’t addressing. Even though all the expenses, and debit and credit transactions, were in one place - it wasn’t helping customers track their expenses and spends in specific sectors, such as transport, eating out, shopping, etc.

“We asked the customers, how they expected to be served, when it came to monitoring income and expenditures. People told us they would use income tracker apps - but they were generally touted as tedious to use and sometimes inaccurate. Why is it that the banking app - the point from which cash gets debited and a record of an expense gets created - can’t track expenses with a seamless UI?”

Narang gives us another insight. In order to keep track of their spending better, people were mostly sticking to credit cards or UPI apps for their payments. The reason for this is because UPI apps and credit card statements were a more seamless way for people to track their expenses and spends.

“At Jupiter, expense tracking is done by categorising transactions. We may create a category titled ‘food’ based on transactions with food aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato. Similarly, if we have to track expenses related to transport, the app would track transactions from cab aggregators like Ola and Uber. This is done to help a customer stay on top of spends across different categories,” says Narang.

“I don’t think banks were ever interested in helping customers to keep track of spends. In fact, most banks’ philosophy is just to make you spend. After the month ends, no bank is coming back and telling you how much money you spent shopping during sales and giving you insights on your spending patterns,” he adds.

In addition to tracking expenses, Jupiter’s finance tracking system also lets users know about which categories they’re spending on and how they can cut back and save. “Jupiter wants you to save more and spend less money, but traditional banking apps are more concerned with making you spend money,” says Narang.

Narang also points out that though people have access to savings products (such as recurring deposits), they didn’t really feel the motivation to save. So, the company came up with a way to gamify the spending process. The business has the concept of a savings ‘pot’, which could be used to save for specific goals. Once the users reach their savings goal - they are rewarded. Narang says this is a strong incentive for people to save and they’ve seen a good response in the past.

Narang explains that most banks don’t reward users for debit card spends. Even if they tried to access the rewards earned from credit card spending - they are unable to redeem the points or unsure about how to do so. “We also wanted to create transparency around the rewards system - which is not there in banking right now.”

“About 73 per cent of people have more than one bank account. We want people to have an overview of their spending across accounts, in one place. We also help track savings and investments so all your financial information is available in one place.”

Jupiter also has an instrument that helps people to keep track of their loans and debts - and uses it to remind them of payments and help them calculate their financial net worth. Though these instruments may feel invasive to some and raise concerns about data safety - Narang debates the point by mentioning that Jupiter is governed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It is ultimately answerable to the government.

Jupiter is still trying to break away from the existing banking model - which had customers stepping into a bank’s branch if they were not able to get their queries resolved via customer service channels.

“We have aligned with our partner, Federal Bank, to provide better customer service. Customer service is available on the app and there is also a call centre, if the customer wants to get in touch with an agent over the phone. People will only go to the bank branch if the existing customer service channels can’t resolve their issues,” Narang concludes.

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