Kenyan Loan apps: All you need to know about them

By Hillary Lisimba Ambani

Times are hard ….so hard that despite having a 9.00 a.m to 5.00 p.m job some people do not know where their next meal is going to come from every other day. Then in comes loan apps. You have probably seen them spread all over the touch screens of your friends and relatives. Hey, the probably litter your screen as well.

There are others, however, that have just discovered that they are hitting financial rock bottom or have emergencies and are in desperate need of cash. Whatever the case, do not let desperation clog your mind, conduct some research to get the best deal.

So here are the apps laid  bare

I will avoid the main 4: Tala, Branch, KCB- Mpesa and M-Shwari because they are everywhere, therefore, I assume most people have experienced them. My focus is on the less used ones, what I call the junior entrants into the loaning business, and the intention is not to make anyone shy or spooked, but to give the true picture infused with reviews of others who have tried them. It could help someone. They are more than listed below, but I will handle the 10 that I experienced:

 Peol (3.59MB)

Requires registration fee of Kes. 150. Sometimes one wonders why people purporting to help you financially ask you to pay before helping you. Best module would be you register free, then if you qualify for the loan they deduct that registration from whatever you qualify for and send you the balance.

Okoa (8.60MB)

The interface is very boring, to begin with, like a PowerPoint presentation done by an intern. The interesting bit about it is that it doesn’t exactly give you the loan; it only connects you to a potential lender. It is basically a marketplace where potential lenders meet potential borrowers. Not a bad idea in an environment where everyone is always looking for a loan.

Timiza (8.08MB)

This is a product of Barclay’s, launched not so long ago. Problem with Timiza is that once you register they will send you promotional messages every other day, probably more messages than your girlfriend does in a day. The app is a bit slow, and I fail to understand because I bank with Barclays and Hello Money works so swiftly (apart from the recurrent downtimes)

 Stawika (4.38MB)

Good app by all standards, but they won’t give you a loan, and when they finally do they take too long to update their records after you pay. The risk therefore is that you could easily land at CRB because of a mistake that is not yours.

Loanbee (8.56MB)

They take 24 hours to process user account information, so you will be asked to check back later. Whether they need to scout where you live and plant a tracker on your car before loaning you, I don’t know. What I know is the moment they said 24 hours I clicked Uninstall. Very ‘efficient’ if you are looking for immediate cash, not so?

Saida

I had a classmate in campus called Saida. She is Muslim, so I kinda concluded it could be an app based on the Sharia banking laws, which could as well mean lower interest rates. It seemed promising but refused to load on my phone after downloading, kept giving me the hourglass then going blank so I’m not sure whether the app was just having a bad day or the codecs don’t do well with my phone.

Okolea (19.31MB)

First, it is good to note that there is Okoa and Okolea: don’t confuse the two. Second, for a loan app, 19MB is just too heavy, people needing these loans don’t even have such bundles on their phones. They told me I qualify for a loan of Kes. 0.00, basically they went through all my M-Pesa transactions and that’s the much I could qualify for ZERO. Jolly good fellows those are.

Angaza (10.07MB)

Listen to this: you pay a registration fee of Kes 400 to qualify for a loan of Kes. 300 repayable with Kes 99 interest. Yes, if you were starving and needed 300 bob for Unga and Sukuma you would need to raise Kes. 400 for them to lend you back Kes. 300, then you pay back 399. Amazing business idea, simply amazing.

Craft

From the name, they are crafty. Another app which asks you to register with Kes. 400, congratulate you for qualifying for a loan of Kes. 10,000 then loan you 300. Now that’s where you need to burst out laughing. The application process is a bit cumbersome too, people don’t have all that time for bureaucracy especially when desperate for money.

Okash (2.52MB)

Very light and easy to use app. First loan amount they offered me was KES 1,500 and they are strict on repayment after 14 days. So, apply for this if you can raise that cash back in two weeks. They said 1,500 earns an Origination Fee (Interest) of 210. Overall it is not a bad app.

This is not a conclusive document as technology undergoes changes on daily basis, so I shall continue researching and updating on any improvements.

 

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