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This Indonesian Start-up Helps Students Finance Their Purchases

Google Launchpad Accelerator start-up Cicil extends financial inclusion to students

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BY Ezra Ferraz - 01 Jun 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

In the world of financial technology, consumers may often associate the field with PayPal-like platforms that can serve everyone from small businesses to individual consumers.

Cicil, which is based out of Indonesia and was recently accepted into the Google Launchpad Accelerator program, goes in the opposite direction. The fintech platform goes after a niche, and one often ignored by other players: college students.
“My co-founder Edward and I met during our studies, and we realized that there was a large unbanked student population in Indonesia. Given that we were students ourselves, we set out to help solve this problem,” says co-founder Leslie Lim.

Cicil extends financial inclusion to students who don’t have credit cards but still want to purchase something with financing. Through Cicil, students can buy a premium item they need, such as a printer or laptop, without owning a credit card.

The user journey on Cicil is simple. Users pick the item they want to finance, along with their ideal payment plan. They then fill out a registration form on Cicil and get a response within two business days. Once approved, users must then make their installment payments every month and are reminded by Cicil when their plan is near maturity.

“A lot of times the upfront cost of school laptops or tablets are very expensive, so students have to save for many months before they can make those purchases. But by breaking it down into smaller monthly installments, the students can get the items they need much quicker,” Lim says.

Students often resort to Cicil in emergency situations.

“We had one customer who needed a laptop urgently because his current one broke down and he had a school assignment due the same week. Thankfully, he was able to get a replacement via our platform quickly due to the lower upfront cost, and he managed to hand his assignment in on time,” Lim shares.

Cicil focuses its user acquisition efforts of university students through online advertising, as well as social media. While these methods may be effective at getting them interested in signing up with Cicil, these touchpoints are not enough. Since the majority of these students don’t have credit cards, the concept of financing is new to them as well.

“The concept of paying via installments is very new for university students, so we try to help by educating them about it. We have actually run a few financial education workshops in various universities so that the students can learn to better manage their money at a younger age,” Lim says.

In addition to Cicil’s upcoming participation in the Google Launchpad Accelerator Program, the team is focused on building out their platform. “We want to continue to develop our product to give a better user experience to our customers,” Lim says.

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