Barclays Bank of Kenya #ticker:BBK has launched a new mobile loans service dubbed Timiza, increasing the competition in the lucrative micro lending segment.
Timiza is entering a crowded field of commercial bank-backed lending apps such as M-Shwari, Equitel, M-Co-op Cash, and KCB #ticker:KCB M-Pesa.
The lender said customers can access micro loans of between Sh100 and Sh150,000 from the platform at interest rates of 1.17 per cent monthly and one-off facilitation fee of 5 per cent. The loan is repaid in 30 days.
The new app is currently available to Safaricom’s #ticker:SCOM M-Pesa users through USSD *848# and can also be downloaded from Google Play store.
Barclays Chief Executive Jeremy Awori said the launch of the service was informed by the lender’s studies that showed consumers want convenient, digital banking services. He added that the product is in line with the lender’s renewed focus on the SME market and a cost-cutting strategy.
Barclays announced last July it would close seven of its branches citing “current market realities.”
“More than 50 per cent of consumers around the world want to do their bank via the mobile phone,” said Mr Awori.
“So digital banking is not just a way of the present but the future.”
The new service, backed by Safaricom and Craft Silicon, enables consumers to save money, pay utilities, procure micro insurance and pay for online taxi hailing cab Little Cab services.