Are you in Kenya and looking for a mobile loan for personal or business purposes? Do not fall prey to fake mobile apps that are only out to obtain data for malicious purposes. This article gives the most comprehensive review of the best mobile loan apps in Kenya.
Mobile Loans in Kenya
The mobile loans revolution is gaining speed. Mobile loans have now become the largest source of quick credit for Kenyans.
Recent statistics (2019) from the Kenya credit bureau shows that more than 19 million Kenyans are mobile loan borrowers, with 40% of this number having loans from at least 6 out of 10 mobile money lending services.
Mobile loans are more attractive than bank loans since no security is required to secure them.
Again, mobile loan facilities often rely on mobile money transactions in determining the ceiling for respective borrowers, allowing frequent users a stronger role in determining how much they can obtain.
First, let’s take a quick look at the mushrooming fake loan apps in Kenya and how to identify them.
Fake Mobile Loan Apps in Kenya
#1. They ask for a registration fee: In the process of looking for a quick fix to your financial needs, you must have come across an app that is asking you to pay some registration fee before processing your loan.
These scammers will make the ‘registration fee’ the only requirement for you to secure a loan with them.
They will ask for between Ksh. 100 to Ksh. 300, an amount they know most Kenyans can actually afford.
Take for instance these scammers by the name Kua Loans, where you pay a registration fee of Ksh. 250, only to get a ‘loan limit’ of Ksh. 150
If you ever experience such, think twice! You may end up losing nine trying to reach ten.
Genuine apps will lend you first and deduct any attached fees from the borrowed amount.
Scammers will ask for ‘registration fees’ and thereafter dump you.
You’re guaranteed approval: There never exists such thing as a guaranteed loan. Even a village shylock must consider certain factors before entrusting you with their money.
Baits like ‘Get a Loan even when blacklisted on CRB’ are a common phenomenon with scammers.
- Get a Mobile Loan when Listed on CRB is a SCAM
How much more careful do you think a mobile lender would be?
For approval, a lender must check your credit score and verify your information.
Scammers lure you in with guaranteed approval so they can collect fraudulent registration fees.
#2. Easy application procedure: Scammers will not bother you with a lengthy procedure of borrowing, after all they do not care about your creditworthiness.
Their concern is how they can squeeze the little that you have.
#3. Your offer expires soon — and you must act now: If you’re confronted by an “urgent offer,” you’ve likely found a scam.
Scammers will use pressure tactics to drive you to act quickly.
#4. Non-operational contacts and no physical address: If a lender doesn’t provide an actual physical address or functional contact information, engage your brakes.
Scammers will make it difficult to get in touch later, thus avoiding any tracing and legal action against them.
#5. Pyramid schemes Tactics: Most scammers will insist that you need to refer them to other potential borrowers in order to gain points that will enable you to secure the first loan.
Of course, their intention is to use you to bring more victims on the hangman’s noose.
#6. They use and dump: Once they have used you to their satisfaction they will simply dump you by ensuring that you can no longer be able to log into the app using the logging information that you have always used.
Best Mobile Loan Apps in Kenya
- M-Shwari Mobile Loans
- KCB Mpesa Mobile Loans
- Fuliza M-Pesa Overdraft
- Tala Mobile Loans
- Branch Mobile Loans
- Zenka Mobile Loans
1. M-Shwari Mobile Loans
M-Shwari Key Stats
+ Loan Limit: Ksh. 500 – Ksh. 50,000
+ Interest rates: 7.5%
+ Repayment duration: 30 days plus 30 days extension
M-Shwari is a paperless banking and lending service offered through Safaricom’s mobile money service, M-PESA.
Apart from borrowing, M-Shwari allows M-Pesa users to to save as little as Ksh.1 and earn interest of up to 6.65% p.a on their savings.
Through M-Swari you to access a mobile loan straight to your M-Pesa account, with a minimum of Ksh.100 and a maximum of Ksh. 50,000, depending on your calculated limit.
M-Shwari loans are processed at an interest rate of 7.5% and have a repayment period of 30 days.
To qualify for a higher loan limit; you are required to have repaid the first loaned amount on time, increase the amount in your savings account and frequently use other Safaricom services.
At the moment, Safaricom has more than 10 million M-Shwari customers borrowing tens of millions of shillings each day.
The service has disbursed more than Ksh. 230 billion in loans to date, with the average amount per customer at Ksh. 3, 300.
M-Shwari Loan application requirements
The following are the criteria you must meet to qualify for an M-Shwari loan:
- Be a Safaricom subscriber and have M-Pesa enabled for your line.
- A registered and active M-Pesa line used for six months
- Active M-shwari account
- An updated M-pesa menu
2. Fuliza Overdraft
Fuliza M-Pesa Key Stats
+ First 6 months: Ksh. 81 Billion borrowed
+ Loan Limit: Ksh. 500 – Ksh. 100,000
+ Charges: Ksh. 0.1 – Ksh. 30 daily
+ Repayment duration: 30 days
+ CRB Pre-listing period: 30 days
Fuliza is an overdraft facility offered by Safaricom to M-Pesa users in partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa.
Your Fuliza borrowing limit is calculated using algorithms from your M-Pesa transactions.
The service can be accessed by dialing *234#. It is also available on MySafaricom app. Users, however, cannot withdraw from Fuliza.
Besides the regular M-PESA transaction fees, Fuliza attracts a 1% access fee and maintenance charges on the outstanding balance as shown below:
|0-100||Ksh 0.10 per day|
|101-500||Ksh 5 per day|
|501-1000||Ksh 10 per day|
|1001-1500||Ksh 20 per day|
|1501-2500||Ksh 25 per day|
|2501-70000||Ksh 30 per day|
The Fuliza service can be used for the following transactions:
- Send Money to both registered and unregistered M-PESA customers.
- Lipa Na M-PESA: Buy Goods and Paybill services.
Fuliza CANNOT be utilized on the following transactions:
- Agent and ATM withdrawals
- Airtime purchase
- Loans & Savings
If you have multiple M-Pesa lines, you can still access the service on all the lines.
Every M-PESA registered line is treated as a different account and qualifies for Fuliza M-PESA. This limit is reviewed every 3 months depending on your usage.
Funds overdrawn using the Fuliza service are automatically recovered immediately a user deposits funds to their M-PESA account.
3. KCB M-Pesa Mobile Loans
KCB M-Pesa Key Stats
+ Loan Limit: Ksh. 500 – Ksh. 1,000,000
+ Interest rate: 7.5% (one-off fee)
+ Repayment duration: 30 days
+ USSD Access Code: *844#
If you are looking for a mobile loan of more than Ksh. 100,000, KCB M-Pesa is the only option for you. The loan service allows users to borrow up to a maximum of Ksh. 1 Million.
KCB M-Pesa is a partnership between the Kenya Commercial Bank and M-Pesa that makes it possible for M-Pesa users to borrow even without saving.
KCB M-Pesa charges 1.06% interest per month with a one-off negotiation fee of 6.44%. The total cost for the one month loan is therefore 7.5% including excise duty.
In order to grow your loan limit, you will be required to Increase your activity on your KCB M-PESA Account by moving money in and out of your Account regularly.
Increasing the savings on your KCB M-PESA Account and your usage of M-Pesa services is also a requirement for higher loan limits.
4. Tala Mobile Loans
Tala Loan Key Stats
+ Total App Downloads 5,000,000+
+ Total Reviews ★★★★ 366,239
+ Average Review Rating ★★★★ 4.6
+ Loan Limit: Ksh. 500 – Ksh. 30,000
+ Interest Rates: 5% – 15%
Tala was the first instant mobile loan app in Kenya, launched in the year 2014.
A smartphone and a good M-Pesa track record is all you need to access a Tala loan. This means that you should not have deleted your Mpesa messages.
Tala charges a one-time service fee of 5-15% of the principal. This means that the more you borrow, the more interest you pay for your mobile loan.
A one-time extension fee of 8% of principal and interest is applied to loans past due.
How to get a Tala Mobile Loan:
- Download & install the Tala Mobile App from Google Play store
- The app will request to link to your Facebook account
- Answer a few personal questions
Tala loans are to be paid back in weekly installments for three weeks through Mpesa PayBill number 851900.
Loan defaulters are listed with CRB and restricted from qualifying for future loans.
Common Tala Loan Concerns:
#1. If your smartphone is already registered to another Tala account
Mobile lenders will track loanees using their mobile IP addresses. An IP address is unique to every mobile phone.
In case you find yourself using a smartphone that was already subscribed for Tala mobile loans, you will have to contact them.
They will first need to confirm that the former account holder is no longer required in their systems before you can use Tala with the phone.
#2. If you lost your phone and would like to use your existing Tala account with a new phone
If you are using a new smartphone, all you need to do is download the Tala App.
It will then prompt you to contact Tala, who will link your phone to your Tala account.
#3. Is it possible to use a different phone number to get a Tala Loan?
Due to security policies, it is not possible to change your account number. In the same way, it is not possible to register for Tala mobile loans using two different phone numbers.
5. Branch Mobile Loans
Branch Loan Key Stats
+ Total App Downloads 10,000,000+
+ Total Reviews ★★★★ 213,790
+ Average Review Rating ★★★★ 4.5
+ Loan Limit: Ksh. 250 – Ksh. 70,000
+ Interest Rates: 13% – 29% + 2% – 16% monthly interest
+ Loan Terms: 4 Weeks – 16 Months
+ Late / Rollover Fees: None
Branch International offers loans from Ksh 250 to Ksh 70,000 with flexible repayment periods of between 4 – 48 weeks.
All you need to apply for a Branch loan is your phone number or Facebook account, National ID and M-Pesa registered number.
Branch uses data from your phone data, including your handset details (GPS Location and IP address) and SMS messages to make lending decisions.
Your smartphone data is combined with your Branch repayment history to build an individualized credit score, which determines the loan offers you receive.
Depending on the loan size you select, a monthly repayment option is available, which is most convenient for loanees who depend on a regular monthly income.
If you choose weekly repayments, you will need to pay each installment by its weekly due date in order for your loan to be considered on-time.
Just like Tala, once a phone has been used to create a Branch account, it cannot be used by anyone else.
And for the Swahili lovers, Branch has a Swahili version of their app.
6. Zenka Mobile Loans
Zenka Loan Key Stats
+ Total App Downloads: 500,000+
+ Total Reviews ★★★★ 13,204
+ Average Review Rating ★★★★ 4.0
+ Loan Limit: Ksh. 500 – Ksh. 20,000
+ Interest Rates: 11% –
+ Loan Terms: 4 Weeks
+ Extension Fees: 11% –
If you are in need of a mobile loan and you have no access to a smartphone, Zenka is a good choice for you. Apart from the mobile app available on Playstore, the Zenka platform can be accessed by USSD Code *841#
For registration, all that is required is your first name, last name, National ID, answer to a security question of the choices provided and a 4-digit PIN number.
You can borrow from Ksh 500 to Ksh 20,000 using the mobile app, and a maximum of Ksh. 10,000 using the USSD Code.
Zenka offers a repayment term from 1 to 30 days, with a single payment option.
For the first loan, Zenka will not charge any fee. You will then be charged commission fees starting from 11% for each subsequent loan you receive.
Just like other mobile loan facilities, Zenka takes many factors into account when evaluating your creditworthiness, including your prior borrowing history, data from your mobile phone and information received from Credit Reference Bureaus.
Zenka allows you to obtain top-ups to your existing loan with extra cash, up to your current credit limit. This feature allows you to apply for additional amounts many times unless your credit limit is exhausted.
Zenka also adds some flexibility to your loan repayment, by allowing you to postpone your due date by 7, 14 or 30 days. This, however, comes with a fee that depends on the extension term. You can extend your loan as many times as you wish.
7. Okash Mobile Loans
O-Kash Loan Key Stats
+ Total App Downloads: 1,000,000+
+ Total Reviews ★★★★ 54,387
+ Average Review Rating ★★★★ 4.1
+ Loan Limit: Ksh. 2,500 – Ksh. 50,000
+ Interest Rates: (Maximum) 24% per year
+ Loan Terms: 19 days – 365 days
Okash is a Micro-lending product from the Opera group, the maker of the popular Opera mini browser.
Okash offers mobile loans of between Ksh 2,500 – Ksh 50,000 with a repayment period of 91 days to 365 days. Okash loans attract a maximum interest of 24% per year.
Just like other mobile loan providers, Okash will use the data on your phone including your SMS history and other information in order to verify your identity and create a credit score.
8. OPesa Mobile Loans
OPesa Loan Key Stats
+ Total App Downloads: 1,000,000+
+ Total Reviews ★★★★ 21,627
+ Average Review Rating ★★★★ 4.2
+ Loan Limit: Ksh. 500 – Ksh. 30,000
+ Interest Rates: 12% APR
+ Loan Terms: 91 days – 365 days