CRED Business Model and How CRED Works | CRED Success Story?

Cred Business Model and How CRED Works?

What is CRED?

Founded by Kunal Shah in 2018 CRED is an Indian fintech company based in Bengaluru, Karnataka. It is a mobile application used for making credit bill payments for free. It can be downloaded from Playstore and other app stores. It rewards its users for making on-time payments and also keeps a track of the expenses. 

Cred Business model and how CRED works
Cred Business model and how CRED works

Company tagline: ‘Kill the Bill’


Kunal Shah, the founder and entrepreneur, got inspiration from certain automatic products services in developed nations, like, supermarkets without a cashier, gas stations without an attendant, etc. This is how he started CRED as a free credit card bill payment platform. 

CRED success story:

CRED provides the ease of handling multiple cards, making on-time payments, and tracking your expenses. Its security feature has a well-equipped AI (Artificial Intelligence) system which tracks every activity of your credit cards, like due date, spend patterns and others.

Cred Business model and how CRED works
Cred Business model and how CRED works: Source

On making payments through CRED, users can avail discounts in various forms like access to events, brand upgrades, gift cards, much more. For membership, you have to sign in with your full name and a valid mobile number. Some credit bureaus like CIBIL, Experian, CRIF, check whether your credit score is more than 750. If yes, then you will be accepted as a member of CRED. 

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How to use CRED?

Cred Business model and how CRED works
Cred Business model and how CRED works
  • Download the app from play store or IOS app store and register with your mobile number.
  • On registering, the app automatically gets access to your registered credit cards.
  • If your credit score is more than 750, you become a member of CRED.
  • The app then asks for access to your emails to get an insight of your credit card activities.
  • Once you start paying through the app, you start earning CRED coins and rewards. One coin equals Rs.1.
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Benefits/functions of CRED:

  • CRED store – It has 2000+ brands which offer e-commerce, health and travel facilities. The user can redeem his coins to avail discount offers in the brands associated with CRED.
  • CRED Travel partner – This store offers travel benefits like book tickets now or later and also some premium offers for bookings in top hotels and holiday destinations.
  • CRED Pay now – its own payment platform offers many benefits.
  • CRED reward – CRED offers many reward points which can help the user to avail discounts on select brands
  • CRED rent pay – For the first time in India, CRED has launched its facility to pay house rent and also schedule its auto payment through your credit card.

CRED business model:

The business model of CRED is based on a 3-pillar structure:

Cred Business model and how CRED works
Cred Business model and how CRED works
  • Customer – The user can make an account in CRED and pay his bills by directly logging into his bank accounts.
  • The app – Its a mobile friendly app and allows the user to efficiently scroll down for benefits he can avail as a regular payer. 
  • Business partnership – CRED brings in business that provides offers on the app. It gives opportunity for small and large businesses to bring in their products as people from all backgrounds can use CRED. 

Users need to share some of their data like credit card details and access to emails for tracking details of their expenditures and credit score. Check out this video to know more about the CRED business model-

CRED business model:

CRED Revenue model:

The revenue model uses 2 methods to generate revenue:

Cred Business model and how CRED works
Cred Business model and how CRED works
  • Offer listing fees – Other businesses provide offers as fashion coupons, gift cards, etc. Such offers help to generate CRED revenue. Such businesses pay fees to CRED for promoting their brand and increasing their sales.  
  • Data monetization – As you continue making payments through their gateway, CRED collects your data to provide more offers in future. To gain access to the financial details of the user, the bank, other financial companies pay CRED. 

CRED Marketing Strategies:

CRED has emerged as a successful luxury brand in a short span of time. CRED has various marketing strategies. Every strategy has two common features a) uniqueness and b) generation brand awareness. Let us know more about the marketing strategies of CRED 

  • Creating campaigns and ads It organises social media competitions, campaigns and ads. This generates a higher brand exposure. For instance, CRED has become an official partner of IPL for 3 seasons and maximum of the business activities of CRED are during the peak IPL season. Cred is under a three-year deal with IPL and debuted in IPL 2020. People got to know about this app mainly through the CRED ads which run during IPL.  
Cred Business model and how CRED works
Cred marketing strategy and how CRED works
  • Event marketing Promoting the brand at different events and obtaining event sponsorships is an effective marketing strategy. 
  • Viral marketing/Moment marketing – This strategy refers to using the latest trends and memes to attract instant attention. For instance, look at the famous viral CRED ad “Indranagar ka Gunda” featuring Rahul Dravid during IPL. In the advertisement, Rahul Dravid is seen getting furious at a traffic jam, yelling at higher peech, which is actually opposite to his real personality. The purpose of the ad is to show how people get amazed, with strange anger issues (in this case), when they are rewarded on paying their bills through the CRED app. 
Cred Business model and how CRED works
Cred Business model and how CRED works
  • Content marketing Concepts used in CRED require a good understanding by the user. Understanding finance and credit systems is not everyones’ cup of tea. So CRED also does the job of educating its customers by adopting content marketing strategy. It includes publishing of blogs, videos and articles related to finance and credit topics. CRED has a YouTube channel of its own serving educating videos to its users. 
  • Customer acquisition strategy – CRED is well known for sending goodies to its existing target  customers. Imagine you are having  a get together with loads of friends around and you suddenly receive a cake. How exciting would it be! Then your friends ask you about the sender and you proudly reply it to be CRED. This is another way to let more people know about your brand.
Cred Business model and how CRED works
Cred Business model and how CRED works
  • Conducting competitions and giveaways – CRED runs many contests and gives away exciting prizes to its winners. Best part is, in return CRED asks the customer to do 2 simple things,
    • 1) install the CRED app and
    • 2) pay their credit card bill through the app. During IPL 2021, CRED organised its Mega Jackpot Week, where it gave away fancy rewards like Harley Davidson, iPhones, free flight tickets for 5 years, Bitcoin, etc.
Cred Business model and how CRED works
Cred Business model and how does CRED works
  • Ad commercials – CRED launched an ad campaign featuring Jim Sarbh. In the ad the user was found getting introduced to the app and its benefits. In 2020, CRED also launched 6 TV commercials featuring stars like Madhuri Dixit, Anil Kapoor, Bappi Lahiri, Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan and others. As a result, the CRED app downloads increased tremendously.
Cred Business model and how CRED works
Cred Business model and how CRED works
  • Celebrity endorsementCRED smartly gets its brand endorsed by famous personalities who its target customers are interested in. The ad campaigns launched by CRED during IPL showcased veteran cricketers like Maninder Singh, Javagal Srinath, etc. 
  • CRED power play campaign – The campaign asked its customers to pay during the powerplay overs of the IPL match and win 100% cashback on the bill payment. CRED offered to pay one credit card bill for each IPL game. 
Cred Business model and how CRED works
Cred Business model and how CRED works
  • Emotional advertising – CRED believes that an emotional appeal in ads and campaigns can yield good results to the brand. It partnered with GiveIndia and Bhumi to launch a tree plantation program to plant 500,000 trees. The users were asked to log in to their CRED accounts and mention the number of trees they wanted to plant. 
  • Twitter marketingCRED promotes its brand and also gets promoted by other brands on the Twitter platform. Brands like Amul, MPL, Zomato and others, give CRED more brand coverage and brand visibility.
  • Owner marketing – Kunal Shah, the CEO of CRED, uses Twitter for personal branding to gain customer’s trust. When someone hears about Kunal Shah, the first thing that comes to his mind is about CRED. This is personal branding, it makes the brand and its owner synonymous.
  • Social campaigns – CRED piggybacked on such a marketing strategy not just once, but many times. It partnered with GiveIndia and Bhumi to launch its initiative to plant 5,00,000 trees. During the Covid-19 outbreak, CRED committed to distribute 1 billion litres of oxygen through oxygen concentrators to healthcare institutes across the nation. The company said that for every 10,000 CRED coins redeemed by its subscribers, 1000 litres of oxygen will be distributed through concentrators. The funds raised shall be transferred to Milaap (an online fundraising platform) for social causes.
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CRED partners: 

  • CRED has tied up with 2000+ brands which offer attractive discounts for the CRED users.
  • CRED has tied up with 34+ banks to facilitate ease of payment through credit cards of the user. 
  • BCCI declared CRED as the official sponsor for the IPL from 2020 to 2022 with a deal of Rs.120 crore. 


CRED is approved by RBI and hence is safe to use. Website of RBI lists 37 entities holding licences. It granted a licence to HipBar in August 2016. According to sources, the founder of CRED Kunal Shah and his brother Rohan Shah Naresh jointly became members of the board of HipBar in October 2012. 

Cred Business model and how CRED works
Cred Business model and how CRED works

As per RBI guidelines, payment gateways should not store any user’s card details and all previously stored data will be deleted. You have to enter your card details every time you make a payment if you don’t proceed with Tokenization.


Financial institutes like banks and credit card firms gain profit from CRED as it provides free credit card bill payment facilities to its users with zero transaction costs. CRED has an innovative marketing strategy. It also delivers goodies to its user’s offices to spread its brand awareness.

This helps to generate more customers.  The user can redeem CRED coins in exchange for actual cash with their ‘Kill the Bill’ option. It is basically a cashback offer where all the accumulated CRED coins get transferred into the credit card registered in your app.

In today’s technical world, such payment apps are susceptible to hacking. The hacker can easily get access to your sensitive credit/ debit card details, leaving you vulnerable. Don’t worry, just research well the detailed security policy provided by the app, before registering yourself as a user.   

FAQs related to CRED:

  • Is there a limit on the bill amount I can pay through CRED app?

    No, there is no limit for the payment of your bill amount, the whole amount is payable. However, for security reasons, debit card payments are capped at Rs. 2000.

  • I have made a payment through CRED but did not receive any notification from the bank yet. What to do now?

    Depending on the mode of payment and the bank, the notification may come within 2 working days for processing in the bank.  

  • Do I have to pay for card verification or bill payments through the app?

    No, CRED does not charge anything for card verification or bill payments. It also provides free credit scores powered by Experian and CRIF.

  • How does CRED make money?

    By charging a fee from businesses whose products and discounts are displayed in the app for the users. 

  • Is CRED an Indian company?

    Yes, it is a Bengaluru based fintech startup which offers rewards to the users to make bill payments through their app. 

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Suraj Shrivastava

Suraj Shrivastava at ForgeFusion shares simple, effective ways to grow your business using SEO, content marketing, and AI, learned from helping over 50 companies. When he’s not working, he loves teaching others or watching documentaries.

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