5 years ago, Safaricom and Commercial Bank of Kenya (CBA) embarked on a journey that led to the launch of M-Shwari. It became the first mobile-based savings and loans product in Kenya. The application provided a banking service that is convenient, accessible, and secure. It has proven to be a very relevant substitute to the informal savings and credit alternatives that were previously used across the country.
Today, the application is used by 21.1 million Kenyans and the application has led to the rolling out of over 230 billion since its inception. The average loan per customer is an average of Kshs. 3300 per customer. The savings by customers accumulate to more than 12.6 billion.
As they celebrate this groundbreaking milestone, Safaricom and CBA have offered a few product enhancements so they can spread the cheer to their customers. First, M-Shwari will be introducing segmented pricing and enhancement to the customer experience. In the coming weeks, customers who have exhibited good savings and loan repayment behaviour will enjoy improved pricing. These improved prices will be communicated to the individual customers depending on their customer history. This is in line with the industry’s direction to improve customer access and cost of credit to customers that have a positive credit history.
Kenyan households using M-Shwari are better savers maintaining at least 1 week of their household expenditure on M-Shwari. The customers also have a reliable source of credit which they can now associate with responsible financial behaviours. 30% of the loans are disbursed between 5 a.m- 8 a.m in the morning. This shows that the application’s majority customer base comes from the common mwananchi. Basically, most customers borrow the money early in the morning, use it to buy products then at the end of the day, pay back the loan and enjoy the profit made from it. The application disburses between Kshs 200,000- 250,000 in loans in one day. Customers between the ages of 25-34 make up the biggest chunk of the customer base with 38% of total customers. People in this age make up the backbone of the entrepreneurial sector in the country thus the app gives them access to funds to fund their endeavours.
Secondly, they shall also be introducing rebate on the M-Shwari facility fee to all M-Shwari customers that repay their loans in 10 days. What this simply means is that they shall be reducing the M-Shwari facility fee to customers who adhere to the above condition. These product enhancements are an illustration of investment in their research which allowed them to get a deeper understanding of their customer behaviour and benefits of leveraging technology to effectively address customer needs.
Additionally, Safaricom customers can also enjoy a better M-Shwari experience in the month of January when the application will be made accessible from the My Safaricom App. My Safaricom is a Safaricom application that allows you to send money, pay for goods and services, top up your Safaricom line, get your PUK, get your M-PESA statements, access your Bonga points, get SKIZA tunes, manage your subscriptions and get access to customer care.
With the addition of M-Shwari to this platform, one can easily access most if not all of Safaricom’s services all under the umbrella of one application. This will also leverage the 1.3 million users of the My Safaricom App to the M-Shwari Application.