Online alert: Register now, regret later

If you use online financial websites and don’t know this yet, you had better be careful what personal details you share, and prepare to receive unsolicited calls

For someone who doesn't understand the intricacies of financial websites, a cursory visit to one of these online counters recently, was quite an education. Wanting to see how it all works, this writer clicked a simple application for an insurance product on and lo and behold, within a short time there were calls from other websites like and, apart from some insurance agents.

It was strange to receive such unsolicited calls. It was even more strange when one broker made an offer to help with financial planning, something that was not even asked for in the application. Clearly, the callers had got the telephone number from the entry on the application on By sharing this personal detail with others, had the website violated the privacy/security policy that is supposed to ensure against such intrusion?

Apnapaisa is a comprehensive online counter that helps research and arrange for loans, buy insurance plans and explains investment options, through a comparative study of various available products. Browsing the site for term insurance plans, I selected one at random and went ahead and requested for information about it.

Apnapaisa's privacy policy states, "We need to share your information to provide the product or the service you have requested to enable them to contact you," and I accepted this before submitting my details. The process included verification of my mobile number. It then displayed a list of insurance products which, it said, matched my 'requirement'. What I did not know, however, was that there was also a check box that got ticked by default enabling the ApnaExchange facility. 'ApnaExchange is a network of financial advisors who make competing offers so that you get the best deal', it is explained.

What surprised me though, when I started receiving the calls, was that the callers addressed me by the same pseudo name that I had written in my application. offers financial planning services. It also suggests insurance products, but only after one has created a financial plan through them. The minimum cost for this is Rs2,500.

When contacted Bienu Vaghela, chief editor,, she said is a website of Suskh Technology Pvt Ltd, and that Suskh is an advertiser and registered direct sales agent (DSA) on Apnapaisa. Therefore, it was allowed to use a customer's details as a lead for insurance products.

Ms Vaghela said she had no idea how got the details, but presumed that it may have registered as an agent to get the information. She said all agents were genuine, but that the list was long and there could be some who may be use the details to cross-sell other products.

Perhaps, I should not be surprised if I receive calls some time soon, offering credit cards with complimentary health insurance. But is Apnapaisa to be blamed, or are agents at fault? Would it be possible for Apnapaisa to keep a track on all its agents?  Theoretically, maybe, but practically it would be a daunting task.

This was just one example. There are some 20-plus websites specialising in selling financial products. There is,,, to name a few. They offer information about products ranging from loans and insurance to credit cards, from financial planning to investments. And many of them seek personal details like a person's name, email address, mobile phone number, and sometimes even the date of birth, before generating information about a product that the customer is seeking. The misuse of such private details, it seems, will remain a serious issue.




7 years ago

Usually a relation officer ask for confirmation before passing on the information to others.


7 years ago

I usually give a false cell no. these sites advertise that they give a comparsion between all the insurance companies but you cannot get a quote without filling all your personal details.


Harsh Vardhan Roongta

In Reply to Dinesh 7 years ago

Dear Dinesh

My name is Harsh Vardhan Roongta and I am the CEO of Apnapaisa.

I invite you to use our website where you will not need to provide a false number to use our services.

We take the privacy of our customers very very seriously as we realise the responsibility on our shoulders as the leaders of the online comparison market.

That is the reason why we allow consumers to compare the comprehensive and customised set of products without having to part with their contact details. As an example for term insurance you can use this link

to compare all the term insurance products available in India for a specific sum insured, age,tenure,sex and tobacco usage. You do not need to provide any contact detail (and hence no need for a false mobile number :-) :-) ) at all to get this comprehensive comparison. After you see the comprehensive comparison you can, if you so desire, use the services of our advertisers to buy the products wherein you are either sent directly to the insurance company's website (marked as "buy online") or your contact details are taken and provided to advertisers as given in our privacy policy and terms of use.

Please do use our services and let me have your feedback since customer feedback is extremely important to us.

Raj Pradhan

In Reply to Harsh Vardhan Roongta 7 years ago

Mr. Harsh Vardhan Roongta is absolutely right that allows comparison of financial products without need to key in personal details like mobile number. Moreover, the number of options given for a specific comparison is comprehensive and more than other websites we analyzed.

The only drawback is the unsolicited calls our reporter encountered when the interest was shown for specific product.

There are some websites who do not show comparison without keying in details like mobile number, but some of them will call you to confirm if they can pass contact details to third parties and sometimes even telling to whom contact details will be passed.


Columnist, Moneylife

Harsh Vardhan Roongta

In Reply to Raj Pradhan 7 years ago

This is Harsh from Apnapaisa again

Thanks Raj for the kind words about Apnapaisa.

As the industry leaders we take the privacy of our consumers very seriously and hence the decision to provide the most comprehensive comparison in India without asking for customer contact data. Only after the consumers have seen the comparison and wish to proceed further do thay need to share the contact details.

We send an automated email to the consumer giving details of each and every advertiser (including their phone numbers where available) to whom his(her) details have been referred. This allows him(her) to contact the advertiser if the need arises and also be aware of each specific advertiser. It is in our own interest to make sure that no unauthorised advertiser gets access to our consumer data since that would be leakage of revenue for us. Whilst we try very hard it is not humanly possible to make sure that the advertisers also follow the same high standards of privacy that Apnapaisa follows.

More than 5,00,000 unique consumers who visit the Apnapaisa portals every month gives us the confidence that consumers find tremendous value in our services.

Thanks for your kind words once again.

jp nair

7 years ago

i fully agree with you. you only have to pass through these web sites (which do give us variety) to get in to their nets. it never ends. day in day out they keep peddling personal loans/insurance/investments etc. soon people will stop using these sites but till then its a buisness opportunity for them. they too will shut shop and open something new. that's the opportunity internet nowadays provide.;

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