How 'Podeli' Was Created


In 2022, the financial instruments market saw the emergence of a new prominent player – the BNPL service 'Podeli'. The technical development of the project was undertaken by the ‘Cinimex'.

Elchin Guliyev, Chief Editor of the Retail Finance magazine, discussed with Andrey Evglevsky, Director of Information Technology at 'Podeli', and Pavel Myshov, Deputy Director for Key Client Relations at 'Cinimex', the nuances of creating this popular service.

Elchin Guliyev: Andrey, my first question is for you. Could you tell us how the idea of creating the 'Podeli' service came about and what is the secret of its success?

Andrey Evglevsky: BNPL services entered the Russian market from Europe and the USA in 2021. 'Podeli' was launched in 2022, becoming one of the first BNPL projects in Russia.

'Podeli' focuses on extensive coverage: the service connects both small companies and market leaders in various segments - from FMCG to airline tickets. We were the first in the country to implement installment payments in offline stores and offer the largest selection of offline partners among our counterparts. Purchases with 'Podeli' can be made at the cash registers of 'Gloria Jeans', 'L’Etoile', 'ZARINA', 'Econika' and many other stores: clothing, children's goods, hypermarkets, and even at the football stadium cashier. 'Podeli' now collaborates with over 40,000 stores.

For the first time in Russia, we integrated BNPL into a foodtech project – connecting 'Podeli' payment with the Broniboy delivery service. Now users can order dishes from their favorite restaurants and pay in four installments.

Elchin Guliyev: BNPL services have essentially entered the niche of POS lending. What's the difference between these products, and why is BNPL better?

Andrey Evglevsky: It's not entirely correct to say that BNPL is better than POS lending. These are different products with different positioning, helping customers solve various tasks. BNPL services are convenient for small purchases up to 30,000 rubles: cosmetics, perfumes, clothes, children's and home goods. For more significant purchases, customers are likely to prefer traditional lending.

Moreover, paying with 'Podeli' is much faster and simpler than obtaining a loan: customers only need to authorize in the service with their phone number and link a card, no passport required, and application processing takes no more than a minute. The repayment period is short – just six weeks. Essentially, it's a tool for more evenly distributing expenses.

Elchin Guliyev: The technological development and support of the product is carried out by 'Cinimex'. Why did you choose them?

Andrey Evglevsky: To create a truly convenient and in-demand product, 'Podeli' needed to find a contractor with extensive experience and expertise in creating financial projects. Since there were no similar cases at the beginning of the work, we needed to develop the product from scratch: it was important that the system could analyze a huge amount of data from the buyer and the store in seconds, process the application and provide a decision to both sides of the process. After analyzing the previous successfully implemented projects of 'Cinimex', we realized that we could confidently entrust them with this task.

Pavel Myshov: We have been working with the banking sector for a long time, understand the financial issues and specifics, and are familiar with the IT tools used in this market. Of course, we are very pleased that our competencies and experience were valued by our colleagues from 'Podeli'.

Elchin Guliyev: Pavel, could you tell us about the work on the technical part of the project?

Pavel Myshov: Initially, we formed a small project team of employees to assess the tasks, volume, and timelines of the project. We had four months from start to launch. As needed, new team members joined: developers, testers, support specialists, etc.

Elchin Guliyev: Four months is a short time to develop a fintech product.

Pavel Myshov: Certainly, considering that this is a major project and the development was from scratch. In addition to the classic tasks of building the environment, stands, monitoring, etc., many external integrations were implemented, including processing, scoring, integrations with partners. With the banks we are used to working with, there are many implemented solutions, established rules, limitations. In this project, everything was done from scratch and in a very short time, so we consider it a challenge that we and our colleagues from 'Podeli' accepted and successfully responded to.

Elchin Guliyev: It's interesting to understand how the project and developers interact, or example, do developers participate in shaping the vision of the product, contributing ideas for development?

Pavel Myshov: Business ideas and concepts come from the customer. Our task is to offer the best solutions and ideas within our competence, in the technical part of the project. At the beginning of the project, our proposals concerned the choice of technologies and versions of libraries. Further, when developing functionality, all decisions were made consolidated, i.e., there was a discussion of the implementation of features at the customer with our analysts.

Elchin Guliyev: Andrey, you said you were the first to implement installment payments offline. How does the system work for online and offline purchases? Are there any differences?

Andrey Evglevsky: From the buyer's point of view, the mechanics are generally the same: the customer authorizes in the service (enters their name, phone number, date of birth, and email), links the card from which the first payment (a quarter of the purchase amount) will be deducted. Before payment, they see a detailed payment schedule with dates and exact amounts. The customer sees available discounts, can accept the terms of the promotion, and agrees with the schedule. Then the system processes their application – it takes just a couple of seconds. If the purchase is approved, the first payment is debited from the customer's card, and the remaining three will be automatically deducted every two weeks.

The difference between online and offline payment is mainly in the point of entry: in an offline store, the customer needs to scan the 'Podeli' QR code at the cashier, authorize, and then show their individual QR code from their mobile to the cashier.

After the purchase, customers have tools to manage payments: they can adjust the schedule to suit their needs, shift payments, or split the remaining amount into smaller sums, extending the repayment period.

For service partners (stores), we provide opportunities for quick and convenient integration of 'Podeli' into the existing payment infrastructure, both online and offline – we have widgets and boxed solutions for websites and common online store systems, and retail stores can use a wide range of integrations with cash register programs.

Elchin Guliyev: How is the system refined with the development of the service and the emergence of new services?

Pavel Myshov: The 'Podeli' service is constantly evolving and adapting to user needs: new features appear that competitors don't have, and the product refinement process never stops. From our side, we continuously improve the code so that innovations can be easily integrated into the existing product architecture and optimally combined with already implemented functions.

Elchin Guliyev: Pavel, one more question for you as a developer. Do you think the project team carrying out the technical work should be an advocate for the service they are working on?

Pavel Myshov: In my opinion, all team members should see the full picture of the product and understand how the little square of work they do will be involved in this picture. As for whether specialists working on technological tasks should be fans of the product, I think they should primarily be fans of quality and professionally perform their tasks. Developers turn ideas into code, testers test, everyone has their area of responsibility, but all work towards one result. If everyone does their job competently, then the final product will be liked by everyone: both the team that worked on it and the users who use it to solve their tasks.

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