The CRED Business Model

CRED is an Indian fintech company founded in 2018 by Kunal Shah, who was motivated to create the platform to solve the trust issues he believed were present in Indian finance. Shah wanted a create an ecosystem where credible individuals could connect and where lenders and other financial institutions could lend money to trustworthy borrowers. The CRED app allows consumers to meet multiple credit card repayments on time and earn points to spend on exclusive offers in return. In April 2021, the company became one of the fastest startups to achieve unicorn status with a valuation of $2.2 billion

CRED now controls 22% of all credit card transactions in India, with various other features added in recent years such as P2P lending, eCommerce, and the ability to pay other recurring household expenses such as rent and utilities.

CRED business model

CRED’s business model is based on three key pillars:

  1. Customers – who pay their credit card and other bills using a single interface that is more intuitive and rewarding than paying through their bank accounts. Customers must have a credit score of at least 750 which increases the likelihood bill payments will be made on time. 
  2. The app – which provides the interface where bills can be settled and CRED coins can be earned and redeemed. The app is renowned for its elegant UI and UX design with a 4.7 rating in the Google Play Store. One unique feature of the app is that it awards coins based on the total amount of the bill that was paid.
  3. Businesses – who provide customers with offers in exchange for increased visibility among their respective target audiences. Businesses also compensate CRED to display their offers inside the app.

Customer value proposition

The company offers several value propositions to consumers who download the seamless and stylish app. They must first sign-up by providing their details and all the credit cards they wish to manage linked to a cell phone number.

As touched on earlier, there are several useful features within the app in addition to credit card payments. These include:

  • CRED Stash – a low-interest line of credit for short-term borrowers that is backed by IDFC First Bank in India.
  • CRED Store – where customers can spend their CRED coins on over 2000 brands including Tata, Puma, and Samsung.
  • CRED RentPay – where customers can transfer their rent direct to the landlord’s bank account using a credit card.
  • CRED Mint – a P2P lending facility that matches lenders with extra funds with borrowers who are short of funds.

How does CRED make money?

CRED makes money in a few primary ways.

Listing fees 

The first is listing fees that it collects from partner brands who list their products and services inside the app. This listing fee is not unlike the fee eCommerce sites such as Amazon charge merchants to display their products.


Whenever a user redeems their points for such an offer, CRED also collects a commission from the business concerned. The company also takes a small commission for every successful loan that it facilitates as part of the Cred Stash

Furthermore, as part of the CRED RentPay functionality, the company collects around 1 to 1.5% of the total transaction amount.

User data

CRED also collects extensive data on its users as they pay bills and otherwise interact with the platform. The company then sells this information to financial institutions that use it to create better credit card and loan products.

Key takeaways:

  • CRED is an Indian fintech company founded in 2018 by Kunal Shah, who created the platform to solve the trust issues he believed were present in Indian consumer finance.
  • CRED’s business model is based on the three key pillars of the customer, app, and business. Customers are vetted for creditworthiness during the application process, which increases the likelihood that bills will be paid on time and that coins will be earned to redeem on partner offers.
  • CRED makes money via listing fees that it charges businesses in exchange for listing their products and services. It also collects a commission from every loan it facilitates and a separate commission from brands whenever a customer redeems an offer.

Key Highlights

  • Founding and Motivation: CRED is an Indian fintech company established in 2018 by Kunal Shah. The platform was designed to address trust issues in Indian finance and create an ecosystem where trustworthy individuals could connect with lenders and financial institutions.
  • CRED App and Features: The CRED app offers an intuitive and rewarding interface for customers to manage credit card repayments and earn points for exclusive offers. It has gained recognition for its elegant UI/UX design and high user ratings. The app provides features like credit card payments, CRED Stash (short-term borrowing), CRED Store (coin redemption for brand purchases), CRED RentPay (rent payment via credit card), and CRED Mint (P2P lending).
  • Achieving Unicorn Status: In April 2021, CRED achieved unicorn status with a valuation of $2.2 billion, becoming one of the fastest startups to reach this milestone.
  • Customer Value Proposition: CRED’s app offers several value propositions, including seamless credit card payment management, earning and redeeming CRED coins, access to short-term credit (CRED Stash), and unique services like CRED RentPay and CRED Mint.
  • Business Model Pillars: CRED’s business model is built on three pillars: customers, the app, and businesses. Customers with a credit score of at least 750 can pay bills and earn rewards through the app, creating a creditworthy user base.
  • Monetization Strategies: CRED generates revenue through listing fees from partner brands that showcase their products and services on the platform. It also earns commissions from redeemed offers and successful loans facilitated through CRED Stash. Additionally, CRED collects a transaction fee from CRED RentPay.
  • User Data: CRED collects user data as they interact with the platform, providing valuable insights. This data is then sold to financial institutions to enhance credit card and loan product offerings.

List of FinTech Business Models


Acorns is a fintech platform providing services related to Robo-investing and micro-investing. The company makes money primarily through three subscription tiers: Lite – ($1/month), which gives users access to Acorns Invest, Personal ($3/month) that includes Invest plus the Later (retirement) and Spend (personal checking account) suite of products, Family ($5/month) with features from both the Lite and Personal plans with the addition of Early.


Started as a pay-later solution integrated to merchants’ checkouts, Affirm makes money from merchants’ fees as consumers pick up the pay-later solution. Affirm also makes money through interests earned from the consumer loans, when those are repurchased from the originating bank. In 2020 Affirm made 50% of its revenues from merchants’ fees, about 37% from interests, and the remaining from virtual cards and servicing fees.


Alipay is a Chinese mobile and online payment platform created in 2004 by entrepreneur Jack Ma as the payment arm of Taobao, a major Chinese eCommerce site. Alipay, therefore, is the B2C component of Alibaba Group. Alipay makes money via escrows transaction fees, a range of value-added ancillary services, and through its Credit Pay Instalment fees.


Betterment is an American financial advisory company founded in 2008 by MBA graduate Jon Stein and lawyer Eli Broverman. Betterment makes money via investment plans, financial advice packages, betterment for advisors, betterment for businesscash reserve, and checking accounts.


Venmo is a peer-to-peer payments app enabling users to share and make payments with friends for a variety of services. The service is free, but a 3% fee applies to credit cards. Venmo also launched a debit card in partnership with Mastercard. Venmo got acquired in 2012 by Braintree, and Braintree got acquired in 2013 by PayPal.


Chime is an American neobank (internet-only bank) company, providing fee-free financial services through its mobile banking app, thus providing personal finance services free of charge while making the majority of its money via interchange fees (paid by merchants when consumers use their debit cards) and ATM fees.


Coinbase is among the most popular platforms for trading and storing crypto-assets, whose mission is “to create an open financial system for the world” by enabling customers to trade cryptocurrencies. Its platform serves both as a search and discovery engine for crypto assets. The company makes money primarily through fees earned for the transactions processed through the platform, custodial services offered, interest, and subscriptions.


Compass is a licensed American real-estate broker incorporating online real estate technology as a marketing medium. The company makes money via sales commissions (collected whenever a sale is facilitated or tenants are found for a rental property) and bridge loans (a service allowing the seller to purchase a home before the revenue from the sale of their previous home is available).


Dosh is a Fintech platform that enables automatic cash backs for consumers. Its business model connects major card providers with online and offline local businesses to develop automatic cash back programs. The company makes money by earning an affiliate commission on each eligible sale from consumers.


E-Trade is a trading platform, allowing investors to trade common and preferred stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options, bonds, mutual funds, and futures contracts, acquired by Morgan Stanley in 2020 for $13 billion. E-Trade makes money through interest income, order flow, margin interests, options, future and bonds trading, and through other fees and service charges.


Klarna is a financial technology company allowing consumers to shop with a temporary Visa card. Thus it then performs a soft credit check and pays the merchant. Klarna makes money by charging merchants. Klarna also earns a percentage of interchange fees as a commission and for interests earned on customers’ accounts.


Lemonade is an insurance tech company using behavioral economics and artificial intelligence to process claims efficiently. The company leverages technology to streamline onboarding customers while also applying a financial model to reduce conflicts of interest with customers (perhaps by donating the variable premiums to charity). The company makes money by selling its core insurance products, and via its tech platform, it tries to enhance its sales.


Monzo is an English neobank offering a mobile app and a prepaid debit card for consumers and businesses. It was one of the first app-based banks to enter the UK market, founded by Gary Dolman, Jason Bates, Jonas Huckestein, Paul Rippon, and Tom Blomfield in 2015. All were employees of Starling Bank, a similar neobank challenging the dominance of established financial institutions in England. The company enjoys many revenue streams: business and consumer subscriptions, interchange and overdraft fees, personal loans, and more.


NerdWallet is an online platform providing tools and tips on all matters related to personal finance. The company gained traction as a simple web application comparing credit cards. NerdWallet makes money via affiliate commissions determined according to the affiliate agreements.


Quadpay was an American fintech company founded by Adam Ezra and Brad Lindenberg in 2017. Ezra and Lindenberg witnessed the rising popularity of buy-now-pay-later service Afterpay in Australia and similar service Klarna in Europe. Quadpay collects a range of fees from both the merchant and the consumer via merchandise fees, convenience fees, late payment, and interchange fees.


Revolut an English fintech company offering banking and investment services to consumers. Founded in 2015 by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, the company initially produced a low-rate travel card. Storonsky in particular was an avid traveler who became tired of spending hundreds of pounds on currency exchange and foreign transaction fees. The Revolut app and core banking account are free to use. Instead, money is made through a combination of subscription fees, transaction fees, perks, and ancillary services.


Robinhood is an app that helps to invest in stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies, all commission-free. Robinhood earns money by offering: Robinhood Gold, a margin trading service, which starts at $6 a month, earn interests from customer cash and stocks, and rebates from market makers and trading venues.


SoFi is an online lending platform that provides affordable education loans to students, and it expanded into financial services, including loans, credit cards, investment services, and insurance. It makes money primarily via payment processing fees and loan securitization.


Squarespace is a North American hosting and website building company. Founded in 2004 by college student Anthony Casalena as a blog hosting service, it grew to become among the most successful website building companies. The company mostly makes money via its subscription plans. It also makes money via customizations on top of its subscription plans. And in part also as transaction fees for the website where it processes the sales.


Stash is a FinTech platform offering a suite of financial tools for young investors, coupled with personalized investment advice and life insurance. The company primarily makes money via subscriptions, cashback, payment for order flows, and interest for cash sitting on members’ accounts.


Venmo is a peer-to-peer payments app enabling users to share and make payments with friends for a variety of services. The service is free, but a 3% fee applies to credit cards. Venmo also launched a debit card in partnership with Mastercard. Venmo got acquired in 2012 by Braintree, and Braintree got acquired in 2013 by PayPal.


Wealthfront is an automated Fintech investment platform providing investment, retirement, and cash management products to retail investors, mostly making money on the annual 0.25% advisory fee the company charges for assets under management. It also makes money via a line of credits and interests on the cash accounts.


Zelle is a peer-to-peer payment network that indirectly benefits the banks’ consortium that backs it. Zelle also enables users to pay businesses for goods and services, free for users. Merchants pay a 1% fee to Visa or Mastercard, who share it with the bank that issued the card.

Read Next: Fintech Business Models, IaaS, PaaS, SaaSEnterprise AI Business ModelCloud Business Models.

Read Next: Affirm Business Model, Chime Business Model, Coinbase Business Model, Klarna Business Model, Paypal Business Model, Stripe Business Model, Robinhood Business Model.

Main Free Guides:

About The Author

Scroll to Top