By Gitahi Ngunyi
Kenyans with smartphones today found one more reason to smile following the launch of mKey, a locally developed android application that allows them to borrow, save, transfer, or pay up to Sh1 million by a single touch on their phones.
mKey app which was launched by fintech firm Finserve is available on Google Playstore combines financial capabilities with social networking and online shopping.
But it is the savings and lending capability of the keyboard that will be most exciting for Kenyans coming at a time when unsecured credit has dried in the market or is too expensive.
To access the loans which range from Sh300-1million from the app, the users will be required to build profiles through transactions such as savings, money transfer, and payment for goods and services.
The amount of loan one qualifies for and interest rates will then be determined by an algorithm that computes the users risk based on their transaction profile and data from credit reference bureaus.
Unlike banks and other lending apps, users who have been listed negatively by credit reference bureaus will also qualify for loans before the app will conduct its own credit scoring depending on the users transaction history.
“Yes, I can confirm to you that our algorithm will develop a credit score independent from the credit reference bureau listing to determine whether one qualifies for a loan,” said Finserve Managing Director Jack Ngare.
Ngare said those who are not listed with credit reference bureaus will enjoy interest rates of as low as 1 percent per month while those listed will be charged a monthly fee of 9 percent per month.
“Although we are not a bank, our borrowers who are not listed with CRBs will enjoy interest rates at the statutory capped levels but those listed will be charged risked based fees,” said Ngare.
On money transfer, mKey frees users who have been locked by telcos to sim card based money transfer services.
With the app, customers can load money into their digital wallets through the 25,000 Equity Bank agents spread across the country. Withdrawals by users can also be made from the same agents or any ATM.
Users can transfer money to other mKey users on for free. At the same, they can also transfer funds to people on multiple mobile money platforms including MPesa, Equitel, Airtel Money and T-Kash at tariffs pegged on the value of the transferred funds.
Transfers to mobile money transfer platforms has been capped at Sh35,000 in line with Central Bank of Kenya guidelines.
But mKey users can transfer up to Sh999,999 to other people who are not on the platform through either Kenya Bankers Association owned PesaLink or CBK owned Real Time Gross Payment System (RTGS) at a cost of between Sh80-550.
Ngare said the tariffs charged will be shared with subscribers in reward system for every transaction made.
mKey users can also pay bills and buy goods and services through the platform.
Finserve is a fully owned fintech subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings PLC