5 January 2013

Kenya: M-Shwari Deposits Hit Sh1 Billion Mark

MOBILE micro-credit services product M-shwari had accumulated deposits of nearly Sh1 billion by the end of December 31, just a month after its launch.

Over Sh140 million had also been disbursed by the end of last year through the service. Mshwari,a partnership product between Safaricom and Commercial bank of Africa has so far registered 1 million users.

The banking service based on Mobile money transfer service, M-Pesa, is giving local banks a run for their money which had to work for years to reach such levels.

"The phenomenal adoption of M-Shwari shows that many Kenyans have a need and desire to join the world of formal finance," Speaking on these figures Safaricom CEO said Bob Collymore said.

M-Shwari, makes it possible for customers to save as little as Sh1 and earn interest rate of up to 5 per cent, while eligible borrowers can get as little Sh100 and maximum of Sh20,000 at a one-off processing fee of 7.5 per cent, for a maximum of 30 days.

"It also demonstrates that partnerships between Banks and telcos can benefit and transform the lives of Kenyans from all walks of life,"

The product is however held in a court case where microfinance institution, Faulu Kenya had sued Safaricom accusing it of copyright infringement.

Faulu had sought orders to stop Safaricom from operating M-Shwari claiming it was similar to Faulu's Kopa Chapaa service operated by Airtel Kenya since last year after securing approval from Central Bank of Kenya.

Through Kopa chapaa service, users can get loans between Sh100 to Sh10, 000 repayable in 10 days with interest rates of between 3-10 per cent.

Though the high court refused to issue orders restraining the use of M-Shwari, the case is scheduled to be heard on January 21.

Collymore said in a statement, the take up of Mshwari had increased during the just ended festive season and is consistent with fast growth of M-Pesa.

During the festive period, M-Pesa recorded a 30 per cent year-on-year growth in the number f transactions.

Total M-Pesa customer activities recorded from midnight of December 24 were over 8 million transactions compared to 5.6 Million transactions in the same period last year.

The said over 10 000 transactions per minute are made between 11.00 am and 8.00 pm.

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