Innovation in personal finance makes our lives easier and allows us better options in terms of investments, expenses and savings. Personal finances are changing rapidly over time. In recent years we have witnessed the growth of UPI, E-Wallets, Sovereign Gold Bond and many more personal finance instruments in India.
These are the top three personal finance tools you should know about.
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)
To provide easy access to a line of credit, lenders now offer a loan called Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL). Most of the major online shopping apps and portals now offer BNPL as a payment option for their customers. BNPL adoption has skyrocketed in the pandemic and is expected to continue to grow at a rapid rate.
Currently, it is typically used for a limited number of online shopping experiences, but is likely to expand to more online and offline experiences. Clients should be aware of charges (interest rate and penalties) while using BNPL and always ensure timely payment to keep costs in check and their credit score strong.
In the 2022 Union Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced a 30 percent tax on digital assets. With this move, the government has allayed fears that the country will ban cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies have seen increased adoption rates in India despite fears such as lack of regulation and market-linked volatility. In 2018, the RBI banned cryptocurrency trading in India.
However, a Supreme Court ruling in 2020 overturned the central bank’s order. After this, crypto transactions multiplied and several new crypto assets were launched. Investors in India look at cryptocurrencies as a means of earning higher returns. However, some uncertainties loom on the horizon. The government is yet to decide on its legality through the pending cryptocurrency bill. Regulation can provide clarity and safety nets for investors.
For Indians, gold and silver have financial and emotional value, but owning and selling them present challenges. Like gold, you now have one more asset class to diversify your investment portfolio in 2022. In November 2021, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) allowed mutual fund companies to introduce exchange-traded funds (ETF) silver in India. market.
Investors will no longer need to hold physical silver in physical form, as the ETF will allow them to trade the metal in Demat form. Silver ETFs will invest 95% of their assets in silver. The ETFs will be compared to the spot price of silver decided by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). There will be no exit charge on silver ETFs. Several companies have already unveiled their silver ETFs, while others are lining up.
Dematerialized silver is easier to buy and sell. No taxes, no storage issues, no questions about purity.
New investors may note that silver is more volatile than gold and therefore their exposure to this metal should be calibrated against their return expectations and risk appetite.
(The author is CEO of Bankbazaar.com)