Home > Money > Personal Finance > Mutual fund apps that can help you invest from home

If you are looking to invest in mutual funds from the comfort of your home, a host of apps can help you do this. In situations like the Covid-19 lockdown, when physical submission of documents is not possible, an app may be the best alternative. If your know-your-customer (KYC) process isn’t done, then don’t worry. This can be done in an end-to-end online process in most of the apps mentioned below through webcam. Before we tell you about the apps, note these two things.

First, your money is invested through the app into mutual funds. These funds are held in your name. If the app (or company behind it) goes out of business, you do not lose money. It just becomes an inconvenience, because you then need to find another app or mechanism to manage the investments.

Second, the company behind the app must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) as either a mutual fund distributor (MFD) or registered investment advisor (RIA). A distributor offers what are called ‘regular plans’ and charges commissions. An RIA offers ‘direct’ plans and charges fees. However, many such RIA apps have stopped charging fees due to stiff competition in the market.

So how do these no-fee advisors make money? The companies say they will eventually make money by cross-selling services such as loans or stock broking. However, a few players have actually managed to do this and only time will tell if this is possible. So choose an app that has the financial power to survive and service you for a long time. In this piece we tell you a little bit about the background of these companies, their size, their financial strength and track record apart from the unique features each offers.

Scripbox: Among the major mutual fund apps in the market, Scripbox is the oldest. Established in 2012, this Bengaluru-based company currently has assets under management (AUM) of 1,500 crore. It was founded by Atul Shinghal and Sanjeev Singhal. It is one of the few apps that offer regular rather than direct plans. Remember, regular plans involve payment of commissions to the distributor, in this case Scripbox. These commissions are about 1% in equity funds and 0.5% in debt funds. However, in return for the commission, the app designs and rebalances a mutual fund portfolio for you based on your risk appetite and goals. It also suggests funds that you should redeem, if you require your money based on the exit load and tax that you will have to pay. In its latest funding round, the company raised $21 million in 2019. The regular plan model of the company also provides comfort on its ability to survive.

Website: Scripbox.com

Launched: 2012

Type of MF offered: Regular

Playstore Rating: 4.1

No of downloads: 1 million +

Size: 18 MB

Zerodha Coin: This is the mutual fund platform of India’s largest broker by number of customers -- Zerodha -- which pioneered discount brokerage model for stocks. Zerodha Coin, the broker’s mutual fund arm was launched in March 2017. It initially charged a small fixed fee to investors, but has now become free of cost. It counts about 2,50,000 users and an AUM of around 4,600 crore. Since it is an arm of the stock brokerage, a key USP is its ability to view direct stocks and mutual funds in a single place. On the flip side, you need to open a demat account with Zerodha in order to invest in mutual funds through it.

Website: Coin.Zerodha.com

Launched: March 2017

Type of MF offered: Direct

Playstore Rating: 4.2

No of downloads: 500,000+

Size: 9.4 MB

Kuvera: Launched in October 2017, Kuvera counts itself as the first free platform for investment in direct plans of mutual funds. It has around 9,000 crore invested through its platform with a user base of 6.5 lakh. It was launched by Gaurav Rastogi, Neelabh Sanyal and Mayank Sharma, all IIT/IIM alumni. The app last raised $4.5 million from Fidelity International’s strategic fintech investing arm in March 2019. Kuvera offers ancillary features such the ability to view your EPF balance along with guidance on goal planning and asset allocation. It also allows first time non-resident Indian (NRI) investors to sign up and start investing in Indian mutual funds without the hassle of visiting the country.

Website: Kuvera.in

Launched: October 2017

Type of MF offered: Direct

Playstore Rating: 4.5

No of downloads: 500,000 +

Size: 21 MB

Paytm Money: This app was launched in September 2018 by one of India’s largest payment apps, Paytm (owned by One97 Communications, which is backed by investors such as Japan’s Softbank). It has a user base of around 5.6 million (56 lakh) with about 5,000 crore invested through its platform. Paytm Money offers direct plans, which means no commissions, and it also does not charge a fee. Paytm Money offers guidance with selection of mutual funds, including some pre-designed portfolios based on themes and mutual fund ratings from research outfits such as Value Research, Crisil and Morningstar.

Website: Paytmmoney.com

Launched: September 2018

Type of MF offered: Direct

Playstore Rating: 4.2

No of downloads: 5 million +

Size: 14 MB

This list is not an exhaustive list. In addition to the above mentioned names, there are apps such as MyCAMS, which is owned by Computer Age Management Services (CAMS), a registrar and transfer agent. However, you can only transact in CAMS-serviced mutual funds through it (about 70% of the market) and not those serviced by other RTAs. MF Utility, a company owned by a large number of mutual funds, also has an app that lets you invest in direct funds, free of cost. Groww, an app launched by former Flipkart executives in 2017, has a user base of 6 million (60 lakh). It recently announced the launch of stock broking services in addition to mutual funds. Payment apps such as Mobikwik and Phone pe also offer mutual funds within the primary app. Key things to focus on while investing through these apps are: longevity, size, cost and features on offer.

(Data as of 23rd April, 2020)

Subscribe to newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Click here to read the Mint ePaper Livemint.com is now on Telegram. Join Livemint channel in your Telegram and stay updated

My Reads Logout