Safaricom launches interest-free M-Pesa loans

Peter Ndegwa

Peter Ndegwa, the Safaricom chief executive officer. 

Photo credit: Pool

Safaricom has unveiled its zero-interest credit service for the purchase of goods for up to Sh100,000 which had initially been blocked by the financial regulator.

Dubbed Faraja, the credit service is expected to ruffle the ubiquitous mobile loans market that has been dominated by such products as Fuliza, a mobile overdraft service also on M-Pesa.

The service will enable more than 32 million Safaricom’s customers to buy on credit from businesses on the telco’s Lipa Na M-Pesa. Customers will be able to make purchases of between Sh20 and Sh100,000 at zero interest fees and complete the payment within 30 days.

“Many businesses lose out on sales when a customer would like to make a purchase but lacks money at that point. We are glad to partner with EDOMx to offer Faraja empowering any business to grow their sales by enabling their customers to buy now and pay later,” said Peter Ndegwa, the CEO of Safaricom.

“In researching the global merchant and consumer industry, it was evident there is a substantial digital community that will appreciate our product offering including our zero interest initiative, plus much more in enhancing loyalty and customer-focused programmes,” said Julian Kyula, CEO, EDOMx.

Faraja is a partnership between EDOMx Ltd, a Kenya-based financial technology firm, and Safaricom.

Currently, the service is available across all Naivas Supermarket outlets, Goodlife pharmacies, and City Walk amongst other merchants.

Businesses on Faraja will receive payment in full for a product or service immediately after a customer makes a payment through the service.

Safaricom, which is listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), will enable EDOMx to offer the Faraja service to more than 606,000 businesses on Lipa Na M-PESA at a negotiated facility fee payable by the business.

EDOMx will extend credit to businesses on the solution enabling them to receive payments immediately when a customer makes a purchase on Faraja.

The Central Bank of Kenya gave EDOMx the nod to launch the product after it was cleared as a digital credit provider in March. This was under regulations published last year that allow the central bank to regulate fintech to rein in predatory lending and violation of consumer privacy.