Following the success of M-shwari, mobile loan apps such as Tala and Branch have in recent years become very popular thanks to their readily accessible soft loans. Their huge success has spurred growth in this segment resulting in countless micro-lending apps that offer similar instant loan services.
Amid this growth, banks and microfinance institutions haven’t been left behind and many have since incorporated loan services into their mobile banking apps and USSD platforms. These services are however mostly limited to account holders unlike in the case of the aforementioned loan apps.
Consequently, a gap exists for users that cannot access loan facilities via loan apps. Such users comprise mostly of a sizeable segment of the population that still use feature phones or that can’t access internet.
To fill this gap, some banks and other credit institutions now offer instant loans via USSD in addition to their banking and loan apps. Depending on the bank, the loans may be available to existing account holders, non-customers or both.
Where accounts need to be opened, the process can be done right from the device without having to visit the banking halls. Let’s take a look at some of these banks.
Banks with Instant Mobile Loans
1. Barclays Timiza
Barclays launched a mobile loan service called Timiza that is separate from their mobile banking. Consequently, one does not need to open an account to access the Timiza instant loans.
The service is however only available for Safaricom M-Pesa customers and be accessed either via the Timiza app or by dialling the *848# USSD code on a their Safaricom line.
2. Family Bank’s PesaPap Wallet
Family Bank joined the micro-lending segment by expanding their mobile banking service PesaPap to non-customers. This new service dubbed PesaPap Wallet is a virtual account that provides a host of banking services including instant loans.
Users can open a PesaPap wallet account via the PesaPap app or the or the *325# USSD code. Like most loans of these nature, the PesaPap mobile loans need to be repaid over a 30-day period.
3. HFC Bank’s HF Whizz
HFC (Housing Finance) unveiled their banking app, HF Whizz App, which offers loan services among other banking services for its customers. The app provides a simple way to open an account for non-customers so that one can quickly start applying for loans.
Users that cannot use the app can however access the HF Whizz services, including the loan services via the USSD code platform by dialling *618#.
4. KCB M-PESA and Mobi Loans
KCB (Kenya Commercial Bank) partnered with Safaricom to offer instant loans easily via the KCB M-PESA service that is integrated right into M-PESA.
This facility is available in by going to the Loans and Savings options inside the M-Pesa menu then selecting KCB M-PESA to activate the product.
KCB and non-KCB customers can however still access their mobile loan service Mobi loans via their mobile banking service that’s available via the KCB Banking app or the *522# USSD code.
Non-customers are however still required to open an account with the bank before they can access the Mobi loan services. For those that cannot use the app to do this, the good news is that one can also quickly open a KCB M-Benki Account using Lipa na M-Pesa.
5. Equity EazzyLoan
Equity is unlike the other banks listed here as it runs its own mobile network called Equitel. Consequently, one can only access their mobile loans via Equitel.
In addition to this, Equity requires one to have had an active bank account and Equitel line or Eazzy banking app for a minimum of 6 months before they can qualify for a loan.
The account can be opened on other mobile networks by simply dialling *237# after which one is required to collect an Equitel line from one of the bank’s branches.
These steep entry requirements can however be explained by the fact that the Equity offers one of the highest instant loan amounts. Provided the aforementioned conditions are met, one can access Eazzy loans of up to Ksh3 million via the Equitel line or the Eazzy Banking app with repayment periods of up to 12 months.
USSD Code Charges
Dialling any of these codes will attract charges from your mobile network operator. It should also be noted that some of these codes are only meant to work on a particular operator. Such is the case with Barclay’s Timiza which is only available on Safaricom.
Charges for these mobile banking USSD codes usually range between Ksh.2 and Ksh.1 on Safaricom. You can however query the charges for a particular USSD on Safaricom for free.
With that said, most of these services are only integrated with M-PESA. As such, while they can be accessed on other networks, transferring of funds and repayment of loans may only be available via M-PESA products such as Lipa na M-Pesa Bank Paybill Numbers.
Hopefully, the mobile banking sector will embrace other mobile money services such as Airtel Money and Telkom’s T-kash.