Save now, buy later: Saving up regularly on Tortoise app pays

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At a time when digital payment apps entice you with ‘buy now pay later’ schemes, here is one fintech company that is upending that idea with its ‘save now buy later’ proposition. Tortoise, founded by Vardhan Koshal and Surya Harsha Nunnaguppala in 2021, is a savings app that rewards users for saving up for large purchases in the near future, thus driving a more conscious and responsible behaviour towards consumption avoiding credit options that make a dent in their finances.

“Our aim is to encourage better behaviour while making savings a better process overall than how it has been. With much higher returns than that on a savings account, the Tortoise cashback after saving up is over above the offers available at the partner merchants. For instance, an Apple merchant offers an individual discount of Rs 5000 + Card cashback of 5% + Tortoise cashback,” explains co-founder Vardhan Koshal. “You decide your goal duration and get the Tortoise cashback as soon as you complete the purchase. So, if you are saving up on a Tortoise plan for an iPhone for Rs 60,000, for a duration of six months, you get 5% of the amount, i.e., Rs 3000, straight in your account. This same amount when calculated in a savings account at 3% for six months is Rs 526.”  

As of now, Tortoise (https://www.tortoise.pro) offers plans from three to 11 months of saving. Users can save up for a minimum of Rs 10,000 and a maximum of Rs 2,00,000. There’s an option to save weekly too, and one can transfer the money via UPI too. The money that users save is kept in an escrow account by the app’s payment gateway Razorpay. The rewards are jointly financed by the merchant and Tortoise.

The app has started off with Apple products and has launched an exclusive offer for early users at higher percentage of cashbacks. It plans to add other merchants in the travel, jewellery, gadgets and other categories soon. “Also, we are talking with our users and prospective customers to understand how and what they need to save for; for instance, medical procedures, etc., and working towards that too,” says Koshal.

The idea behind the app was that the affluent and loan-takers are only a small percentage of Indian consumers. According to the founders, saving up for large purchases is ingrained in the Indian culture of thoughtful consumption. Hence, they decided to solve for this, by creating a business model that benefits both users and merchants. “This was also inspired by the Tanishq golden harvest scheme which runs on the same basis and is a proven concept that contributes significantly to their revenue and sales,” says Koshal.

Millennials are the core audience for fintech apps. For those who prefer to shop and invest online, this new app now opens the door to saving up for purchases while avoiding impulsive purchases, EMIs and loans. In case you decide not to go ahead with the purchase, you can cancel the goal and the accumulated money will be refunded to your account.