Kenya, like other countries around the world, is facing economic problems brought on by the rising cost of living and inflation, not to mention the general downturn in the economy. Due to this, more and more people are having increasing difficulty making ends meet, which has led to an increase in demand for loans.
Luckily, banks and other lenders offer loan apps in Kenya that can help you get out of a financial bind when your finances are running short. In this article, we review some of the best app loans for instant cash and their interest rates.
What you should look for when selecting a loan app
When you are pressed for cash, it’s tempting to get a loan from the fastest lender. But before you receive the cash from the lender, there are important factors you should consider. Let us review some of the most important factors you should consider before you opt-in for a loan from a mobile app.
Regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya
The first check you should make is to ensure the app loan provider is regulated by the central bank of Kenya. In March 2022, the digital lenders’ credit providers'(DCP) regulations were gazetted, giving the Central Bank of Kenya the power to provide licensing and oversight of previously unregulated digital lenders.
The main highlights of the gazette notice are as follows:
- Digital credit providers must obtain a license from the Central Bank to operate their business
- DCPs must be registered under the Companies Act.
- DCP is expected to put in place appropriate policies, procedures, and systems to ensure the confidentiality of customer information and transactions.
- The digital lender is prohibited from sharing customer information without the customer’s consent.
- Digital credit providers must notify the customer of any intention to submit negative information to the credit bureau at least 30 days in advance.
- The credit provider should have at least one place of business.
- The digital credit provider must provide the following information to a borrower:
- Charges are imposed when they are likely to be imposed.
- The interest rate charged and whether it’s on reducing balance or not
- Total credit cost, including principal, interest, and other charges
- Date when the amount is due charges due and payable.
- Customer complaint handling procedure
- In the case of non-performing loans, the DCP can recover the principal amount and interest as per the agreed contract. The digital lender is not allowed to charge penalties on late payments that exceed the principal amount.
- During credit collection, the DCP or its agent must not engage in the following conduct:
Use of threats, violence, or criminal tactics that could endanger a borrower’s reputation.
- The DCP must not use obscene or profane language.
- Must not make unauthorized or unsolicited calls or messages to a customer’s contact.
- They must not use any unconscionable debt collection tactics.
- Should avoid any conduct meant to harass, oppress, or abuse any person when collecting debts.
Before you sign up for any loan, make sure you check the interest rate. The higher the interest, the higher the cost of the loan.
Loan amount and duration
Loans with a short term tend to be more expensive. Verify the loan tenure and see whether at that point you will be able to pay back the loan.
Late payment penalties
Make sure you check the terms and conditions of a loan app before you accept to receive it. Most loan apps apply a rollover daily, which can result in high penalties if you fail to pay at the agreed time.
Most loan apps don’t have a customer service department. It is best to check whether your preferred loan app can respond to your queries in case an issue arises.
How to apply for loans using the app loans
Most app loans have the same loan application procedure. Here’s a quick primer on how to apply for a loan.
- Install the app from the google play store
- Register using your phone number or email.
- Check your credit limit and then review the credit terms.
- Apply for the loan and wait for the lender to complete the review and disburse the money.
- Check your Mpesa for the money.
The best loan apps in Kenya
Loan apps in Kenya are either from telecommunication companies, banks, or other private lenders. In this section, we review the best apps based on the above factors. If you are looking for an instant loan from loan apps, you are in the right place.
Here is our review of the best app loans in Kenya.
Safaricom offers Mshwari in partnership with NCBA Bank. What makes MShwari tick is that it encourages saving. After saving for six months and actively using Safaricom services, you can borrow from the app.
Earn an interest of 6.3 % p.a. (0.525% p.m.) on your savings. After saving for six months or more, you can access a loan at an interest rate of 9% per month (loan fees of 7.5% and 1.5% stamp duty). The exercise duty is deducted from the principal amount sent to you.
2) KCB Mpesa
KCB Mpesa is a loan service from Safaricom in partnership with KCB bank. This is one of the first app lending solutions in Kenya. You can access KCB Mpesa from your MPESA tool on your phone. To apply for the loan, just go to the MPESA menu and click on KCB loan and savings. Check your limit and apply.
KCB Mpesa charges an interest rate of 8.64% per month. Get a minimum loan of Ksh 1,000 from the application.
Fuliza, an overdraft facility by Safaricom, charges a daily fee based on the amount borrowed. The longer you take to pay, the more it will cost you. The amount borrowed from Fuliza is automatically paid once you receive money on your MPESA.
The main advantage of this facility is its convenience. However, you should pay the loan as soon as possible to avoid accruing daily charges.
3) Timiza by Absa
Absa Bank’s Timiza offers its customers a loan at 6.08%, where 5% is the processing fee and 1.08 is the interest rate. They give you a loan tenure of one month. If you fail to make the payment as per the given schedule, they apply a rollover fee of 5%.
4) Mco-op Cash
This app helps co-op bank customers access banking services and short-term loans. Mco-op is not only a loan app but provides a broad array of banking services, including money transfer, and balance queries, among others.
Customers can access KSH 1000 to 500,000 in loans from the app at an interest rate of 1.083%, insurance fees of 0.034%, and appraisal fees of 3% of the loan amount. The loan duration is up to 6 months.
5) NCBA Loop
Apply for loans of up to KSH 3 million using NCBA Loop. If you have been banking with NCBA bank and saving for some time, you can access up to 3 million payable in 3 years. Your money will earn an interest of 7.3%.
They offer loans at an interest rate of 13% p.a processing fee of 2%, an insurance fee of 0.7%, and a 20% exercise duty on processing fees.
6) The Pesapap app by Family
Pesapap app enables family bank customers to access a variety of banking services, including loans. You can access loans of up to Ksh 50,000 at an interest rate of 6.62% per month for one month.
Other loan apps available in Kenya
There are other app loans available in Kenya that provide you with instant cash. Please note that these loan apps are not yet registered with CBK as the deadline to do so is in September 2022. It is therefore important to do your due diligence before you take up a loan.
We review some of the best loan apps from private lenders, their rates, pros, and cons.
Tala, which was initially Mkopo Rahisi, is one of the best loan instant loan apps. It has been around for a couple of years. They offer loans of up to Ksh 30,000 and charge an interest rate of 7-19% per month. First-time borrowers get a loan tenure of 21 days and an interest rate of up to 11%.
Pro of the app
- It’s simple to use.
- Show how much you have borrowed, the repayment amount, and the loan tenure.
- You will get constant messages and calls if you delay payment.
8) Branch loan app
Branch app loan was introduced into the Kenyan market in 2015. That means they have been around for a while. They will give you a loan of up to Ksh 100,000 at an interest rate of 1.7% to 17% per month. This translates to an annual percentage rate of 22%–229,9%. The loan duration is 9 to 52 weeks.
Pros of branch loan
- Transparent in terms of lending
- Easy application process
- Fast disbursement of loans
- High-interest rates. An APR of 229% is pretty high.
9) Zenka loan app
Zenka Loan app offers loans starting from Ksh 500 to 20,000. They offer a repayment period of one to two months and an interest rate of 28% per month. This translates to an APR of 475.
- The app is simple to use
- Fast disbursement of loans
- A 1% per day late payment fee
- high-interest rates. An APR of 475% is quite high.
Zidisha is a non-profit peer-to-peer lending platform with one of the best apps. The money you receive comes from different lenders who come together through the platform. To qualify for a loan, you must be self-employed, active on Facebook, and have a Safaricom sim card.
They offer loans with 5% service fees, which cover the cost of administering the loan.
- No interest on loans
- It takes a long time to disburse the loan.
When borrowing from the loan apps that are yet to be regulated by CBK, check all the terms and conditions. Look out for interest rates, loan durations, and how they collect their debts.
Avoid any app that requires you to pay them before you get a loan, they are scams. Make sure to pay your debt on time.
Summary of the 10 best loan apps in Kenya
|Loan app||Maximum amount||Interest rate p.m||Other fees||Total charges||Loan duration||Penalties if you fail to pay on time|
|Mshwari||2X your savings||7.5%||1.5%||9%||One month||Rollover fee of 7.5%|
|KCB Mpesa||Depends on credit history||8.64||8.64||One month||Rollover fee of 8.64%|
|Fuliza||Depends on credit history||Daily fees depending on the amount borrowed||One month||Accrues daily charges|
|Timiza||1.08||5% processing fees||6.08%||One month||A 5% rollover fee applies|
|Mco-op||500,000||1.083||3.034||4.117%||Up to 6 months|
|NCBA Loop||3,000,000||17.7%||17.7%||Up to 3 years|
|Pesapap app||6.62%||6.62%||One month|
|Tala||7-19% for 30days Up to 11% for 21 days||19% 11%||One month||8% extension fees|
|Branch||1-17% (APR of 22-229%||17%||‘No late or rollover fees|
|Zenka||28%(APR 475)||28%||1% on outstanding amounts|
|Zidisha||5%||5%||5% of the unpaid amounts|
These are some of the many app loans in Kenya, and it can be difficult to choose the best one for your needs. We hope our list of the 10 best app loans in Kenya will help you narrow down your options and find the one that suits you.
Each one has its terms and conditions, so be sure to choose the right one . Remember to compare the interest rates, repayment terms, and duration before selecting a loan app. Always pay your loan on time to avoid rollover fees, penalties, and other late payment fees.
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