Groww still figuring out how to properly offer US stock trading to Indian investors

Rick Steves

“Our existing app is by far the smoother than anyone in the country when it comes to trading, investing, mutual funds and SIPs. The problem with US Stocks is not under our control. We have to work with banks and intermediary companies to find the easiest way of doing that.”

Groww, which has opened doors to US stock trading for web users in November 2020, hasn’t been able to bring that offering to its wider use base trading via mobile.

Based in Bangalore, India, the trading platform competes with other high growth fintech firm including Zerodha, Upstox, and Angle One, and is trying to solve a number of issues including the standardization of currency conversion on the platform.

Issues with funding and FX rates hurting broker

Groww’s co-founder and chief operations officer (COO) Harsh Jain told Business Insier the problem is not on Groww’s end but rather on dependencies that have been created so far, including the issues with funding an account which takes up to 2-4 days.

“The process of funding through the LRS [Liberalised Remittance Scheme] and everything is very painful, we are figuring out if we can solve that problem. If we are able to solve that problem, we are able to scale that offering.”

In India, the retail investor has to get in touch with the bank to convert his Indian currency to dollars. Only then, the capital can be added to Groww’s stock trading wallet for foreign stocks.

Another issue is the different currency conversion rate charged by banks. “If you are using SBI Bank versus HDFC Bank versus Kotak Mahindra Bank, for you to fund an account for buying US currency, the process is not standardized and there are different charging rates”, the chief operations officer added.

The team at Groww grows frustrated at how they can’t solve the issues right away as customers have much higher expectations of user experience on the mobile app. The company is trying to further smoothen the processes, setting a standard currency conversion rate, and provide a simpler funding process.

“Our existing app is by far the smoother than anyone in the country when it comes to trading, investing, mutual funds and SIPs. The problem with US Stocks is not under our control. We have to work with banks and intermediary companies to find the easiest way of doing that”.

Groww has reportedly more than 2 million users on its platform, with nearly 70% of them coming from Tier II and III geographies, and has raised nearly $393 million to date from Tiger Global, Y Combinator, Sequoia Capital India, Ribbit Capital, and others. The firm is currently valued at $3 billion in October 2021.

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