Synopsis: The Cashbean instant personal loan app has been involved in the #OperationHaftaVasooli controversy ever since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out due to its alarming privacy issues and connection with the Opera browser ownership. The Arthayana Editorial team digs deeper to unravel the background of Cashbean, its NBFC status, and other privacy concerns.
Cashbean instant personal loan is an Android application for both salaried and self-employed people that disburses loans between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 60,000 with minimal documentation and at a 33% annualized interest rate.
Cashbean is a registered brand of PC Financial Services Private Limited, which was established on 13 July 1995. There are four company directors – Vinay Kumar Bhatnagar, Raghuvir Gakhar, Vaibhav Mishra, and Jumana Aspan Patel – as per the public listing available on Zaubacorp. Their registered office address is in Kapashera, New Delhi and the CIN is U65100DL1995PTC070768. Gurgaon, Haryana is their operational headquarters.
PC Financial Services Private Limited is 100% owned by Opera which is popularly known for its desktop and mobile browser. Opera was developed by Otello Corporation in 1995 and it was fully purchased by a group of Chinese investors in 2016.
On its website, it states that PC Financial Services Private Limited is a registered non-banking financial company (NBFC) under the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Cashbean Instant Personal Loan Eligibility Terms
There are four criteria to become eligible for a Cashbean instant personal loan:
(1) You must be a resident of India.
(2) Your age must be between 21 and 56 years.
(3) You must have a regular source of income.
(4) You should have an active bank account.
Cashbean Instant Personal Loan Features
Some of the features of the Cashbean instant personal loan are:
(1) CIBIL score is not mandatory
Unlike other personal loan apps, a 750+ CIBIL score is not mandatory to be eligible for a Cashbean instant personal loan.
When you sign up, Rs. 1000 is often the first loan offer extended and with each timely repayment, the loan amount increases which is capped at Rs. 60,000.
(2) Loan process is totally digital
You don’t need to visit any office or await in-person verification. Download the Cashbean application, signup with the Aadhaar-linked mobile number, upload soft copies of Aadhaar and PAN, upload a selfie, and submit the application form. The process is completely digital and paperless.
If the loan application is approved, you will receive the details on the application itself within a couple of minutes and on prompt e-signing of the loan agreement via OTP validation, the money will be digitally transferred to your linked bank account.
Users from any state in India can apply 24×7.
(3) No ceiling on the number of loan applications
You need not wait to take a second or a third loan. After successful repayment every time, you can submit another loan application instantly and get another personal loan in the next 30 minutes.
(4) Multiple repayment options
Repayment is done via the Cashbean instant personal loan application only. You can repay via NEFT, IMPS, Cashfree, Razorpay and PayTM.
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak in India and the growth of anti-China sentiments, Cashbean instant personal loan company has been mired in a few controversies. An investigative brief about each of them is given below:
(1) Cashbean is a Chinese instant personal loan application
As written in the Background section above, Cashbean / PC Financial is 100% owned by Opera, which is owned by Chinese investors.
Reports about Chinese investors trying to infiltrate the Indian instant personal loan market by giving quick loans to borrowers and collecting their data have been covered by Business Insider, The Federal, and News18 among others. It states that Cashbean, OPay, OPesa, and OKash are handing out quick loans in India, Nigeria, and Kenya through their Android applications.
Why is this a problem? According to China’s Data Security Law, any personal information or data collected by private companies need to adhere to China’s data security policies and the Chinese government can ask the private companies to hand over the data anytime asked.
Thus, it is a matter of India’s national security if data of our citizens can be easily accessible by China. Remember that when loans are availed, the lending institution has your Aadhaar and PAN details, your bank account details, your location details, and your social account details – crucial private details are collected and stored.
(2) Cashbean hacks user’s mobile contacts for threat/harassment
The coronavirus pandemic caused crores of people to lose their source of earning which is why repayment of loans became tough.
During this time, it came to the knowledge that the Cashbean instant personal loan application had started harassing and threatening its borrowers who were unable to repay by calling their contact list. It is not only a violation of privacy but an illegal activity as per the RBI.
Zee Business conducted a sting operation to reveal the harassment practices of Cashbean, which is now known as the #OperationHaftaVasooli episode and was covered by various mainstream media publications such as The Economic Times. A search on Twitter with #Cashbean and #OperationHaftaVasooli hashtags reveals multiple instances of harassment by Cashbean collection agents.
You can view the video below.
(3) Cashbean is not RBI-licensed NBFC
While the Cashbean instant personal loan application and the PC Financial official website states that it is a licensed NBFC under RBI, the website does not mention any registration number or a license number to verify the claims.
An updated list of RBI approved NBFC’s are available on the RBI website and we couldn’t locate any license under the names of PC Financial Services Private Limited or Cashbean.
We had reached out to Cashbean’s official email to verify the same – they feigned ignorance and sent a canned response. It will be in their benefit if they can clarify the issue as it will build trust with the borrowers.
(4) Cashbean is not following RBI moratorium rules
There was huge outrage on Twitter during the Zee Business sting operation where thousands of disgruntled and out-of-work borrowers complained that the Cashbean instant personal loan application refused to give RBI sanctioned moratorium to them.
Seeing the outrage, Cashbean customer care took to Twitter asking the borrowers to email them with their loan a/c number to avail the moratorium. While many received an extension on their loans or an increase in the repayment period, it is still troubling due to two reasons:
(a) if Cashbean / PC Financial is not an RBI licensed entity but just a normal private limited company with Indian directors and owned by a Chinese firm, they might not give moratorium to anyone.
(b) if condition (a) is true then Cashbean / PC Financial is conducting illegal financial operations in India and as such, no borrower will have any rights to pursue a legal course of action.
Cashbean instant personal loan application has been installed from Google Playstore over 10 million times – it is very successful and we have also tested it.
However, its legal operational status in India and user privacy issues cannot be ignored. We would advise you to be mindful before downloading the Cashbean instant personal loan application and sharing your data.