Kenya is quite famous with regard to success of mobile money. A large part of the unbanked population can transact business courtesy of mobile money platforms like M-Pesa, Airtel Money, T-Kash among others.
Following this success, local financial institutions and Silicon Valley-backed start-ups have been in a race to produce apps that provide unsecured loans to clients.
A common feature among all of them is that all that is required of a customer is a registered mobile phone number, a national identity card and in some cases, contact of referees.
While there are hundreds of such apps, few are as convenient as they purport. Here are five that have been proven and tested among regular users.
Branch is perhaps the most common and most widely used of all mobile loan apps. Users only need to provide their phone number and national identity card number.
Loans are processed within minutes and sent to borrower’s M-Pesa account once approved. Loan limit is increased as one uses the apps more and repays promptly.
This is another popular mobile loan app in the Kenyan market. Like Branch, all a borrower needs to provide are contact details, M-Pesa phone number and a valid email address.
Loans are processed instantaneously and loan limit is increased upon prompt repayment.
Timiza, from Barclays, is a relatively new entrant into the mobile lending craze. One advantage that has facilitated uptake of Timiza is their high loan limit for first-time loan applicants.
Their interest rates are also quite low when compared to other lenders.
The app comes with extra features such as airtime top up, booking a cab, sending money, and payment of bills (Nairobi water, Kenya Power, Telkom, DStv, GOtv, Zuku and more).
You only need an active M-Pesa registered mobile phone number and a national ID number to get started.
Saida gleans information from your mobile usage and social profiles to gauge loan limit. The app is also piloting payment of utility bills. For now, users can Nairobi Water and Zuku Bills from the app.
Like Saida, Jazika gleans information from your social media profile (Facebook) and M-Pesa transactions to determine eligibility and loan limit.
Loan disbursement is not prompt, may take up to 24 hours.
I found Okash a little more thorough than most uncsecured mobile loan apps. A new user is required to provide a referee and state purpose of the loan they are applying for.
Loan processing takes up to 24 hours and initial repayment period is capped at 14 days.