Swadesh, a neobank for Indian expats, opens early access to US bank accounts

Updated on Jun 07, 2022 07:54 PM IST

Swadesh, which emerged out of stealth today, is launching FDIC-insured US checking accounts that can be set up from India through a 100% digital and free onboarding process

Swadesh, a Y Combinator-backed startup based in San Francisco and New Delhi promises frictionless cross-border banking for Indian international students & NRIs; opens early access to its first 5,000 users today. Get early access here: https://www.swadesh.co/
Swadesh, a Y Combinator-backed startup based in San Francisco and New Delhi promises frictionless cross-border banking for Indian international students & NRIs; opens early access to its first 5,000 users today. Get early access here: https://www.swadesh.co/
ByHT Brand Studio

For Indian citizens looking to study or work in the United States, setting up US banking infrastructure is a time-consuming process that involves physical visits to bank branches, tons of paperwork, and unsatisfactory, often confusing, guidance around banking and taxation issues. Indian citizens are reliant on dodgy forex cards and other USD instruments in the interim since their ability to carry cash is limited. Enter Swadesh: the world’s first custom-built neobank for Indian students & NRIs based in the United States.

For Prateek Swain, a Princeton University graduate and founder of Swadesh, these pain points were acutely felt when he landed in the US:

“Moving continents and setting up for a successful educational or career experience while jet-lagged is hard enough without dealing with forex card failures like I did. The unfamiliarity of Indians with the US banking system affects their ability to conduct cross-border transfers and build credit. I kept an account with a major American bank for 5 years; I deposited my tuition money, internship salaries, stipends, and everything in that account for years. I had job offers in hand from Microsoft and Uber. Despite this, when I went to apply for their basic credit card - they flat out rejected me. This is when I realised how broken the financial ecosystem was for immigrants like me.”

Swadesh, which emerged out of stealth today, is launching FDIC-insured US checking accounts that can be set up from India through a 100% digital and free onboarding process. Within 3 minutes and using only a passport and visa, Swadesh users can set up and seamlessly transfer money to an American bank account, and receive a virtual VISA debit card for contactless payments that is operable before they even land. The checking accounts are enabled with super-fast ACH transfers for domestic transactions, direct deposit for paycheques, remote cheque deposit, and third-party integrations with Venmo, GPay, Apple Pay, and Paypal etc.

The mission of Swadesh is to build fintech banking infrastructure from scratch that is exclusively tailored to the needs, wants, and aspirations of Indian international students and migrants. Swadesh is building a full-service bank for students and NRIs alike that facilitates bilateral capital flows between India and the US.

In addition, Swadesh provides 24/7 bespoke support to its users to ensure that they receive the correct guidance and information on financial topics specific to their visa situation, and runs an exclusive networking platform for its users— spanning Indian students, employees, and startup founders located in the United States— called Swadesh Club.

Says Prateek: “We want to accompany our users through every step of their American dream, whether that is through upcoming product launches such as debit cards with credit scoring and subsidized US SIM cards, or networking and career enrichment opportunities at Swadesh Club.”

Get early access here: https://www.swadesh.co/

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