KENYA – Safaricom and KCB Bank Kenya have announced a restructuring of the popular Fuliza overdraft facility in a move that will see customers transacting on Fuliza access the overdraft facility at a free daily maintenance fee for the first three days for transactions of KSh. 1,000 and below.

The move benefits more than 80% of M-Pesa customers who seek to complete their payment transactions with Fuliza credit.

Fuliza is a revolutionary M-PESA innovation and is the first solution in the world to enable mobile money customers to complete a transaction when they have insufficient funds. Launched in January 2019, Fuliza was especially instrumental at the height of the COVID pandemic as many customers and businesses switched to cashless transactions.

“In line with our purpose of transforming lives and in the spirit of Tuinuane, we have introduced a free daily maintenance fee period for Fuliza transactions of KSh. 1,000 that repay within the first three days. This simple change will reset the use of the Fuliza service to its intended purpose,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO – of Safaricom.

Customers that borrow above KES 1,000 (US$8.29) will also enjoy a 10 – 20% discount on their Daily Maintenance Fee.

The one-off Access fee, levied when customers access Fuliza remains unchanged at 1%, establishing Fuliza as the country’s most accessible and affordable credit facility. The new discounted rates will be effective on October 1, 2022.

“This restructure aims to reinforce the original purpose of Fuliza – a short-term overdraft facility for 4 to 7 days. From the data that we have, it is clear that the original intent for Fuliza to be a short-term credit facility has evolved,” said, John Gachora, Group Managing Director, NCBA.

According to John, since the COVID-19 pandemic, many customer M-pesa wallets are now remaining overdrawn for 14-19 days. This was not the intention of Fuliza as it embeds the wrong customer behaviour and increases the cost of credit.

“This is what we intend to address with this announcement. Additionally, we wish to express our intention to work with our partners and other industry stakeholders to rethink the credit information-sharing framework that underpins CRB to better enable Kenyans, especially the Kenyan entrepreneur to access credit more seamlessly,” he added.

“The specific mechanisms for this for M-Shwari and Fuliza customers shall be announced by 1st November 2022.”

Additionally, Safaricom and its partners have announced their commitment to support government efforts concerning Kenyans who are negatively listed in Credit Reference Bureaus.

To this end, Safaricom and NCBA will execute a credit repair mechanism to see customers who default on M-Shwari and Fuliza enlist for a credit repair scheme.

This will result in delisting over four million digital loan defaulters who are negatively listed on CRBs and restoring their ability to access formal, regulated credit.

“We are taking additional deliberate steps to provide affordable credit to Kenyans in our contribution to drive up economic activity and recovery. We will anchor this on strong partnerships with various stakeholders while deploying innovative digital capabilities to enhance financial access and inclusion,” said Paul Russo, CEO – of KCB Group.

M-PESA is the world’s leading mobile money solution and Africa’s largest Fintech empowering over 30 million customers in Kenya access a variety of previously unavailable financial services.

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