Kenya’s leading telco, Safaricom, is entering the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) sector with the launch of a zero interest BNPL credit service called Faraja.
With a tag line which reads ‘zero is zero,’ the product’s website is already on the top for Google Search even though there isn’t much on it currently.
According to a local daily, Safaricom users of the interest-free product will now have the chance to buy goods and services from as low as KES 20 ($0.17) to a maximum of KES 100,000 ($840) and pay the same amount without any extra fees witnessed on other credit products.
The service will also be available online and offline, suggesting USSD applicability, if the media invite sent out to some journalists is to go by:
The service will see Safaricom turn back to Kenya’s banking sector with Equity Bank said to be funding the BNPL loans through a partnership.
Safaricom will only be charging users transaction fees for accessing the service. Moreover, users will not be paying any upfront fees like is typical in higher purchase arrangements. They will immediately get to pick the products they want to buy from participating stores, if they get a loan.
Acoording to the news report, Faraja ‘will work like a digital credit card where a user will have a credit limit of up to Sh100,000, depending on their credit score, to make purchases against, and then repay at a later date within the 30-day window.’
On its part, Safaricom is quoted as saying:
“You will only be required to repay the outstanding facility amount as advanced to you by us (in whole or in part) using the designated Paybill number or such other channels as provided by us from time to time.”
Top retailers are some of the merchants that have signed up to participate:
Citi Walk – a shoe-selling store
Faraja is said to be owned by a local financial technology firm called Edomx Ltd with parties in the arrangement set to benefit through a revenue-sharing formula.
Safaricom has worked with NCBA bank to launch Fuliza and Mshwari mobile loan products, and also partnered with KCB on the KCB-MPESA mobile loan product.