In harnessing the power of the mobile phone to impact people’s livelihoods, Airtel Rwanda has entered into partnership with Atlantis Microfinance Ltd, a collaboration that will see Airtel Cash registered customers benefit from collateral free loans given through the company’s mobile money platform.
The loans as Airtel explains are expected to offer a platform to extend access to credit to Rwandans who remain excluded or whose needs are not fully catered for by formal financial products.
Igurize Amafaranga offers an opportunity for customers on Airtel Cash to borrow instant loans from as low as Frw500 to 50,000 payable over a month.
Meaning that in case one is in a fix somewhere and in need of a small but quick loan, it will now be easy to borrow money they can withdraw and use to sort whatever their need may be through Airtel cash and pay back later.
According to Ms. Raisa Muyango the Managing Director of Atlantis Microfinance, the loan requests will be approved within the same day of submission.
And with systems between Airtel and Atlantis already integrated, the process of carrying out due diligence about a particular request will be hastened to ensure that the loans are offered within a very short time.
The product, which will start effective from April 1st, will attract a service fee of 10% meant to cover the operational costs incurred in the process.
Besides being the first ever mobile money based credit facility, Airtel’s “Igurize Amafaranga” also breaks ground for Rwanda’s financial sector into collateral free lending.
Prior to Igurize Amafaranga, there was no financial product in the Rwandan money market that allowed for customers to use their credit history and secure loans without collateral.
Thus although the platform begins off from a lower end, with the maximum loan value possible being Frw50,000, the role it will play in Rwanda’s financial inclusion efforts is enormous.
Just like Airtel’s Head of Mobile Commerce Phillip Onzoma scores, “you always have to start somewhere.”
“The low values of the loans are largely just to kick start the product but we expect that after a while, we will base on the market intelligence and determine how to adjust. But one thing is sure; this new platform is here and here to stay and can thus only grow bigger,” Onzoma shared.
Usually, as Marie Clare Uwacu explains, one finds it hard to sometimes get small sums of money that may mean so much at a particular moment.
“Sometimes you do not want to borrow small moneys every now and then from people mostly fearing how that may be interpreted. Igurize Amafaranga is a good solution for such small but important needs.”