According to the Central Bank of Kenya, Kenyans transacted as much as Kshs 9.2 billion daily through real-time mobile-based payments in 2016. In all, Kshs 3.35 trillion was transacted via mobile money last year alone, an increase from the Kshs 2.82 trillion in 2015. The increase has been attributed to a rise in the uptake of mobile loans.
Those numbers are corroborated by the latest data from digital market intelligence platform SimilarWeb which shows that of the top 10 finance apps in the country, at least half are straight-up mobile lending apps.
While mobile banking apps, like the ones from Kenya’s top tier financial institutions like KCB, Equity Bank and the like also have loan facilities, there are other applications that are available to users that are purely meant for facilitating mobile loans. It is these apps that top the list of Android-based finance apps in Kenya as can be seen in the list below.
Tala (formerly Mkopo Rahisi – Kiswahili for “easy loans”), Branch and Saida, are the top Android applications in the finance category in Kenya. The three apps have one thing in common: their main purpose is to provide loans to their customers, something they share with the last two apps on the list, Kenya Quick Loan Shop and Haraka.
Overall, amongst Kenya’s top 50 free Android apps, Tala is ranked third, after WhatsApp and Facebook.
68 per cent of people (in Kenya) report use of phones for a financial service, versus only 23 per cent who have saved at a bank in the last year.
Equity Bank’s Eazzy Banking application, launched last year and heavily marketed by one of Kenya’s largest banks, is the first finance app that is not solely intended for facilitating access to loans and it comes in at 4th place; further highlighting the hunger and thirst for mobile-based credit facilities by Kenyans. Equity Bank, which also disburses loans through the application requires at least 6 months of active account use for a user to qualify to access credit, a requirement most of the mobile lending apps do not have. KCB, whose well-designed app is known to work when it feels like, comes in at a distant 7th place.
A surprise entrant to the list is Commercial Bank of Africa’s Loop app which is 8th. While CBA is a leader in the mobile lending space thanks to facilitating Safaricom’s M-Shwari service, the Loop app is just 2 weeks old having been launched recently. CBA aims to appeal to young entrepreneurs by offering them an application that removes the need for one to visit their local bank branch every time they need to do something. Instead, the app offers all banking services to users on the go as well as allowing them to invest and act as their personal financial planners. That, the many other features it packs and the sheer curiosity given the mystery of CBA’s “unbank yourself” campaign may have been just what it needed to enter the top 10 of the Android apps in the finance category in Kenya.
Two service-centred applications, Cellulant’s Mula and Safaricom’s M-Ledger, also make it to the list and they follow each other in 5th and 6th positions respectively. Mula facilitates utility payments and mobile airtime top-ups with an upcoming update to the app set to bring the ability to transfer funds from mobile money accounts to bank accounts and vice-versa. M-Ledger, on the other hand, allows users to calculate transaction costs when using Safaricom’s renown mobile money transfer service, M-PESA, as well as analysing the transactions using the text messages received as a result to provide valuable information to its users.
|9.||Kenya Quick Loan Shop|
Notable applications missing from the top 10 include Chase Bank Kenya’s much-hyped Mfukoni app, Co-operative Bank’s disaster of an application (it’s really awful) dubbed MCOOPCASH, EcoBank’s mobile app, which was launched to much fanfare in Nairobi in early February and the Kenya Revenue Authority’s iTax app (after all, who loves the tax man?). The four are placed 11th, 12th, 23rd and 31st respectively.
View the entire top 50 list here.