Digital lending has become extremely popular in Kenya. The proliferation of mobile banking and mobile lenders has provided most Kenyans with disposable income. You can access loans on your mobile phone by downloading an app or by dialing a USSD number.
However, this convenience does not come without its share of hurdles.
While the digital lenders previously operated autonomously from the regulation of the Central Bank of Kenya, some mobile lenders have become notorious for charging exorbitant interest rates.
Some mobile lenders have resorted to "debt shaming "borrowers to employers families and friends to recover unpaid debt.
Contrary to bank loans, mobile loans are unsecured, easy to access and convenient
Borrowers are becoming increasingly conscious of the interest rates charged on loans.
Here is a comprehensive list of the cheapest digital lenders in Kenya and their interest rates.
M-shwari by Safaricom-this is readily available for anyone with a Safaricom sim card that has been active for six months. M-shwari charges a facilitation fee of 7.5% on all loans within thirty days. The interest fee is doubled up after the grace period of 30 days
Tala -is arguably one of the leading digital lenders in the country due to its early entry into the industry. Tala commands over 1 million subscribers. To access a loan from Tala, you need to download the app and provide access to your information to estimate your credit rating. The Tala credit app charges an interest rate of 7%-15% for 30 days or 5%-11% for 21 days.
KCB MPESA- A collaboration between the Kenya Commercial Bank and Safaricom. The digital lending service is only available for active Safaricom subscribers. KCB Mpesa charges an interest rate of 7.5% on all their loans.
Branch App -just like Tala you need to download the branch app and allow the app to access your data to authenticate your credit rating. The app scans through your MPESA messages and transactions. The branch loan interest rate in Kenya can be 10% or 27% depending on how you service the weekly installments translating to a 1%-21% monthly rate.
Okoa Stima-powered by Kenya Power in collaboration with Safaricom. This service cushions you from power outages by providing pre-paid loan services. Okoa Stima charges a facilitation fee of 10 percent on their loans. The repayment period is one week.