The one thing that is a constant in the lives of most Kenyans today is a mobile phone. The other thing that is a constant and is proving to be quite elusive in recent times? Money. Kenyans have turned to the former in order to be able to find the latter. Mobile loans are the thing right now. For smartphone users, the process of getting a loan has never been quicker.
A quick look at the top 20 Android applications on the Google Play Store reveals that 3 of them are finance-based. Other than Equity Bank’s Eazzy Banking application, which also allows users to apply for and receive loans, the other two are out and out mobile lending applications. Branch and Tala don’t serve any other purpose other than lending money. They’re the two most popular finance applications in the country according to data from digital market intelligence platform SimilarWeb.
Tala, which allows users to borrow up to Kshs 20,000, has been beaten to the top spot by competitor Branch which was the runner-up the last time we looked at these statistics. Branch, which is ranked the third most popular Android application in the country, only plays second fiddle to Opera mini and WhatsApp which take up the first and second slots respectively.
As a result of the increased uptake of mobile lending applications, finance-based applications that do not offer mobile loans have seen their fortunes dwindle. They have dropped while newer mobile loan apps like Stawika, Utunzi and others have replaced them at the head of the table.
Cellulant’s Mula app, which made it to the top 10 six months ago, is nowhere to be seen. It has slid to position 46 among the most popular Android apps in the country. Safaricom’s M-Ledger, too, has seen its fortunes change and its top 10 place taken up by new mobile loan apps. It has dropped to number 11. Commercial Bank of Africa’s Loop app does not even make the top 50 list!
Here is the entire (top 20 apps) list:
|9.||Kenya Quick Loan Shop|
|15.||Kenya Quick Loan Shop|
|18.||Co-operative Bank Merchant|
Whereas Branch and Tala are renown players in this market with lots of regular users and probably the closest match there is to similar facilities provided by banks and Safaricom’s M-Shwari, most of the newer mobile lending applications that are attracting the attention of users on the Play Store in recent days either have questionable backers or have lots of negative ratings and reviews. That means that while they may have witnessed a surge in downloads recently, they may not necessarily be the best that there is nor is there guarantee that their services, which are very sought after, are reliable. Remember, there is always the risk of being listed with a credit reference bureau (CRB) as defaulting on a loan which you had actually paid (and on time) just because of either bad systems, incompetence on the part of the facilitator or a mix of the two.