Financial services provision has in the last few years been a high scoring point for innovators and entrepreneurs all wanting to be part of the booming business. These includes commercial banks who for so many years ignored the low income earning sector of the economy, which, thanks to technology has become the most profitable.
Since inception of mobile money transfer and mobile banking in the country, the financial services sector has witnessed development of numerous innovative poducts and services which have put both the client and provider in good business. Some of these are Safaricom's M-Pesa, Airtel's Airtel Money, yuCash and Orange Money. Developers have used these platforms to make more business sense than just transferring cash from point A to B.
In equal measure as successes, these innovations have created bitter rivalry between operators, service providers and developers with some of them settling matters in court. An example here is Safaricom's case with Faulu Kenya over the formers new kid on the block M-Shwari. Faulu Kenya has taken Safaricom to court claiming M-Shwari was the Microfinance's brain child.
We will know what the court decides but meanwhile, let us compare the two products (Safaricom's M-Shwari and Faulu Kenya & Airtel's Kopa Chapaa), and see how useful they can be to us.
Kopa Chapaa (Airtel/Faulu Kenya)
This service dubbed ‘Faulu Airtel Kopa chapaa Service’ provides short term credit and emergency advance, which is repayable in 10 to 30 days, to Airtel customers.
Airtel customers can apply for the loan from their mobile phones by dialing *305# and following the menu to access the loans. This service is only available to registered and active Airtel Money users.
M-Shwari (Safaricom/CBA Bank)
This is a mobile money based credit scheme that will allow M-Pesa subscribers to save and borrow money using their phones. The product will mainly target micro-savers and borrowers. It will enable users to open a mobile bank account, into which they can deposit as low as KES 1 (Bob Moja tu) in savings and borrow up to KES 100,000 payable with a one-off interest rate of 7.5%, which will be payable within one month of disbursement.
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