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.