Safaricom and Pezesha launch new loan service for small businesses

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Safaricom and Pezesha launch new loan service for small businesses

safaricom and pezesha launch new loan service for small businesses

Safaricom, Kenya’s top mobile network, has picked Pezesha, a digital lender, to provide credit to small business owners, which will add to the telco’s existing loan products, including M-Shwari and Fuliza. The new product,  Mkopo wa Pochi, will allow small business owners to borrow money directly through their M-PESA business accounts.

Mkopo wa Pochi, already available through Safaricom’s M-PESA super app through an update rolling out today, will complement Pochi la Biashara, Safaricom’s business wallet for small business owners.

This marks Pezesha’s debut in Kenya’s mobile money market by partnering with Safaricom, which will give it access to the telco’s vast customer base of over 32.4 million active M-PESA users.

Mkopo wa Pochi takes advantage of both company’s strengths. Safaricom’s Pochi la Biashara has over 632,000 active merchants, and processed $564 million (KES 73 billion) in transactions that generated $6 million (KES 800 million) in revenue for the operator between March 2023 and March 2024. Pezesha, on the other hand, is known for its credit partnerships and expertise in digital lending,  having worked with Marketforce, Kyosk App, and Rocket Health.

Mkopo wa Pochi loans have a one-time access fee of 2.76% on the borrowed amount. Borrowers have a 7-day term with a single and optional 7-day extension. Extending the loan incurs a one-time fee of 3.85% for the entire 14-day period, and late repayments will be subject to a 1% daily penalty for a maximum of 7 days.

Pezesha will assess Pochi la Biashara customers’ creditworthiness using tools like credit bureaus that list loan defaulters.

“Pezesha may make a credit assessment after considering information from various sources, including but not limited to your business transaction history with Safaricom, your mobile money account transaction history, your credit information from the Credit Reference Bureau, your history of use of the product and prevailing market conditions,” Safaricom says in the product’s terms and conditions page.

In May 2024, Pezesha secured a $500,000 grant from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to improve its credit scoring technology. This followed a  $11 million pre-Series A funding round in 2022 led by Women’s World Banking Capital Partners II.

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