KreditBee

KreditBee Tackles Financial Inclusion by Running Its Digital Lending Platform On AWS

2021

Bridging the Gap for Consumer Credit in India

Obtaining credit can be a chicken-or-egg dilemma. To get a bank loan, an applicant needs to show credit history; but credit history can only be built once an applicant receives a loan, credit card, or similar credit instrument. This dilemma is a problem in India, where financial inclusion continues to be a work in progress. While 80 percent of Indians have a bank account as of 2020, about half of these accounts are inactive, with little to no savings or transactions being carried out. This suggests that many Indians are still not integrated into the formal banking system due to a lack of proper documentation or low and irregular income.
 
KreditBee is an Indian FinTech that aims to increase loan eligibility for students and self-employed users, as well as newly banked individuals. Currently, the FinTech is enabling consumer credit for its four million users. KreditBee’s goal is to make it seamless for its target segment to gain access to different types of microloans, valued up to about $2,500, to pay for medical expenses, university tuition, or even online shopping.

Customers can complete the entire loan process—from initial application to disbursement of funds in their bank accounts—in under 15 minutes, compared to the weeks it may take with other financial institutions.
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It’s impressive how AWS continues to make incremental improvements to its solutions and service integration capabilities, enabling us to deliver more to our customers with this serverless model.

Karthikeyan K
Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer, KreditBee

 

Maximum Scalability with Minimum Overhead

In May 2018, KreditBee decided to embark on an ambitious growth strategy, attempting to increase its monthly disbursements from 40,000 loans to 10 million loans in four years. At the time, KreditBee was running only some of its workloads on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud, with its IT team manually managing and provisioning infrastructure and capacity.

However, to scale, the FinTech needed its IT team to shift its focus to innovation while minimizing operational overhead. KreditBee realized that a serverless approach—where KreditBee can dynamically and automatically allocate compute and memory based on user requests—was the best way forward and decided on AWS to run its workloads.

“Based on our previous experience, we knew there was no cloud service provider that could come close to AWS in terms of the broad spectrum of serverless technologies offered. Choosing AWS was a no-brainer for us,” says Karthikeyan K, cofounder and chief technology officer at KreditBee.

Continuous Improvement and Integration

KreditBee is now running its front and back end systems on AWS, tapping into its serverless offerings, from processing its API calls to supporting its underwriting technology. To monitor system activity and to ensure a smooth user experience, KreditBee uses Amazon CloudWatch for operational visibility, which Karthikeyan admits has been a lifesaver.

KreditBee also appreciates how services are constantly being introduced or updated in the AWS serverless domain, such as Amazon CloudWatch Logs Insights, which helps the KreditBee IT team run the business more efficiently. Logs, which show the transaction history of each customer for periods up to 18 months, are a critical part of the FinTech’s business. However, logging had always been a pain point for KreditBee due to storage limits and the cost of storage volumes on virtual machines. In the past, if there were issues with a loan, KreditBee had to mine log data to determine what went wrong. With Amazon CloudWatch Logs Insights, engineers can run complex queries and get answers in seconds to provide immediate customer service. Additionally, KreditBee pays only for the queries it actually runs and the storage used.

“It’s impressive how AWS continues to make incremental improvements to its solutions and service integration capabilities, enabling us to deliver more to our customers with this serverless model,” Karthikeyan says.

The FinTech also relies on AWS Lambda to run serverless code and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) for a fully managed message queuing service. Both services have contributed to a reduced time-to-market for KreditBee. It now takes the FinTech less than two weeks to conceive and execute a marketing campaign, down from the one month it took before serverless. As a result, KreditBee runs promotions more frequently and offers customers a discounted price on services from its partners in industries such as health and travel.

Innovating and Expanding with a Lean IT Team

From 2018 to 2020, the number of loans disbursed each month by KreditBee increased by 25 times, totaling just over one million loans per month as of mid-2020. The number of Ops engineers employed by the FinTech, however, has only marginally increased to four out of a developer team of 250, since KreditBee’s operations are now 80 percent automated. The role of its engineers have evolved to focus on DevOps, halving the time spent on infrastructure tasks.

KreditBee’s developers play an active role in product development, with management attributing at least 50 percent of the FinTech’s innovations to its IT team. One of these innovations includes a gift card that can be used to purchase items directly from online merchants, and the customer pays off the balance as a loan from KreditBee. Developers also have more time to refine the machine learning (ML) models that support KreditBee’s advanced underwriting process.

Greater Confidence with Secure, Stable Systems

Although scalability was KreditBee’s impetus for moving to serverless, in the minds of KreditBee’s founders, stability has taken first place in terms of the benefits. The founder’s confidence in KreditBee’s systems has greatly improved with AWS. Plus, from a customer perspective, app users can count on KreditBee to disburse funding when they need it most. “Loans take place on the KreditBee app 24/7, and availability is consistently 99.99 percent or higher. The app always works, and that’s exactly what we should be delivering to our customers,” Karthikeyan says.

As the business and its dataset have grown, KreditBee has become an increasingly attractive target for malicious cyber-actors. The FinTech recently implemented Amazon GuardDuty for intelligent threat monitoring and is using Amazon Rekognition as a fraud prevention tool. With Amazon Rekognition, the KreditBee app is able to confirm an applicant’s identity by verifying the photo taken during the application process against the identity documents uploaded.

Whether its scalability, stability, or security, KreditBee relies on AWS to support its ambitious expansion plans. By the end of 2021, management projects to achieve its goal of processing 10 million loans per month. “With AWS, we have peace of mind that our services will always be running, no matter how much our business grows,” Karthikeyan says.

About KreditBee

KreditBee is a financial app in India providing microloans to young professionals. The app disburses more than one million loans per month, with the end-to-end digital application process taking just 15 minutes.

Benefits of AWS

  • Increases monthly loan disbursement by 25 times over a 2-year period
  • Maintains 99.99% system uptime
  • Empowers developers to innovate and refine ML models
  • Improves security with cloud-native services
  • Halves time-to-market for new services and promotions
  • Lowers the cost of storing and retrieving logs

AWS Services Used

Amazon CloudWatch

Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring and observability service built for DevOps engineers, developers, site reliability engineers (SREs), and IT managers. CloudWatch provides you with data and actionable insights to monitor your applications, respond to system-wide performance changes, optimize resource utilization, and get a unified view of operational health.

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AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes.

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Amazon Simple Queue Service

Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) is a fully managed message queuing service that enables you to decouple and scale microservices, distributed systems, and serverless applications. SQS eliminates the complexity and overhead associated with managing and operating message oriented middleware, and empowers developers to focus on differentiating work.

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Amazon Rekognition

Amazon Rekognition makes it easy to add image and video analysis to your applications using proven, highly scalable, deep learning technology that requires no machine learning expertise to use. With Amazon Rekognition, you can identify objects, people, text, scenes, and activities in images and videos, as well as detect any inappropriate content. Amazon Rekognition also provides highly accurate facial analysis and facial search capabilities that you can use to detect, analyze, and compare faces for a wide variety of user verification, people counting, and public safety use cases.

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