A new SMS based credit data update has been launched for both corporate and individual clients to access their credit reports real-time, based on actual payment history with banks and other financial institutions, suppliers of goods and services, and utility companies as reported to the bureau.
According to Metropol Credit Bureau Chief Executive Sam Omukoko, the service dubbed Crystobol allows registered users to monitor activity on their credit reports through alerts for management of their credit profile. "The user will need to be set up in the system for any of the comprehensive set of services and pay a subscription fee, then select what sort of events they should be alerted on. Alerts will be sent automatically whenever activity is detected on the selected item," said Omukoko. He said the service will help reverse the common view that credit bureaus are just a database of blacklisted defaulters.
Jared Gatenga of the Kenya Credit Information Sharing Initiative, said they are working on a legal framework for deposit taking micro finance institutions and SACCO societies to join credit reference bureaus. Currently only banks are allowed to access the services. "We will pilot data gathering from the micro-finance institutions in August.
Every month up 80,000 credit reports are sought by banks and just one thousand by individuals, but with the introduction of the SMS services and micro lenders data, this may change dramatically. It will also strengthen the credit market, informed by a comprehensive data of borrowers and potential credit worth clients," Said Gatenga. Kenya Bankers Association chief executive Habil Olaka said the SMS platform provides the best solution to the challenge of availing easier access to credit reports.