By Mark Kawalya
Airtel Uganda has partnered with Housing Finance Bank Uganda and YABX a firm that runs a digital lending platform, to furnish Airtel Money clients with quick loans.
Subscribers with insufficient balance on their accounts will be able to carry out transactions such as sending money, paying utilities, buying airtime, paying merchants and a host of other services.
The loan scheme is in line with Airtel Mobile Commerce Uganda’s and Housing Finance Bank’s goals of increasing digital financial inclusion through the provision of easy-to-use financial services that give value to users. Airtel Uganda believes the Quick Loan product is a low-cost product that will positively impact communities.
Manoj Murali, Airtel Mobile Commerce Uganda Limited Director, said, “We are excited to partner with the Housing Finance Bank and YABX to create a product that breaks barriers to accessing affordable credit for our customers.” A quick loan can be the difference between a farmer buying drugs to save his cow, a mother lighting up her home for the children to do homework, or buying the insulin needed to save someone’s life. We are committed to closing such intervening gaps for our customers.”
Like in other economies, telecoms are joining in the provision of digital loans, the need for which is on the increase as people and businesses recover from the economic slump brought about by the pandemic.
However, Airtel has criteria it uses to determine which subscribers are eligible to use the service. If an Airtel subscriber discovers that they are not eligible, all they have to do is continue using Airtel money and other services of the telecom until their mobile account becomes eligible.
Housing Finance Bank Managing Director Michael K. Mugabi says, “We are excited about the value-added services we are bringing on board in partnership with Airtel and YABX. This demonstrates our commitment to continuously innovating not only for our account holders but also customers. We need to remain proactive while coming up with solutions that relate to the needs of customers in our Ecosystems.”
Airtel Money users can dial *185*7*10# to register for the service and to take out a loan. Subscribers will transact normally on Airtel and will be prompted to take a loan if they have insufficient account balances to complete the transaction. Customers have the benefit of taking loans multiple times until their limit has been reached with a loan payback period of 15 days.
Airtel charges a 2% application fee and 1% interest on the loan amount every day for the 15 days the loan remains outstanding. For example, a loan of UGX50,000 will require the user payback UGX58,500 after 15 days. It should be noted that a user pays back less in interest if they are able to pay back the loan early.