M-Pesa overdraft facility exceeds Collymore’s expectations

Safaricom Chief Executive, Bob Collymore
Safaricom Chief Executive, Bob Collymore

Kenya’s biggest telecoms operator, Safaricom, part owned by Britain’s Vodafone has exceeded its CEO’s expectations by signing up one million users for its new overdraft feature on the M-Pesa platform in just eight days.

Started 11 years ago as a service to allow Kenyans without access to the banking network to transfer money via mobile phones, M-Pesa now offers loans and savings in conjunction with local banks, as well as merchant payments services.

According to Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, the new overdraft feature, called Fuliza, “got a million (customers) by day eight and by day eight we had lent $10 million. Now we are probably at $15 million.”

Fuliza is underwritten by Kenyan lenders KCB Group and CBA Group, which already had partnerships with Safaricom to offer short-term loans on the M-Pesa platform which has around 20 million active users in Kenya.

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