Branch is one of the most popular mobile applications in the country. In fact, according to the latest data from online analytics firm SimilarWeb, it is the number one finance app in Kenya. Branch happens to be one of the many mobile apps that have arisen over the last few years thanks to the rise in demand for quick credit (hasn’t that always been there anyway?) via mobile phones. This, as I earlier documented, is because of the maturity of mobile money in the country, a revolution started by Safaricom’s M-Pesa, the same platform that Branch relies on to send credit to its users as well as receive loan repayments. So as far as being useful goes, Branch is definitely up there.
I have been reviewing Branch and the other mobile loan options available in the market for an article (coming soon) I have been working on for the last few weeks but have been too lazy to put final touches on and publish. One of the complaints I made in that article, if I may give you a sneak peek, reads as follows:
The only problem I have with the Branch app is the lack of a PIN code or a safeguard of any sort. When you open the Branch app you are directly taken to your “My Loan” page where you are presented with a loan offer or, in the event that you had already taken a loan, with a status (days remaining to your next repayment, the amount itself, the interest etc). This is quite risky. Should one’s device fall in the wrong hands, anyone with malicious intent can use the opportunity to do whatever they want – request for a loan or simply get to know information they were not supposed to know. This is a serious omission and I have no idea why it has taken this long for the feature to make its way to the app. Tala has it and M-Shwari is, well, M-Shwari.
Thankfully, even before I could publish that piece, Branch has gone ahead of me and patched things up. Version 1.12.1 of the app now includes the ability to set up a security lock using a personal identification number (PIN) possible. Upon updating, the next time the Branch app is launched, one is immediately prompted to set up a PIN.
While I am not sure why it took them this long to get the feature (even Overview, another app that has access to very confidential financial data lacked the feature when I reviewed it last year) yet apps like rival Tala have had it from the get go, at this point I am just glad that it is finally here. Get borrowing!
Branch can be downloaded from the Play Store