Mauritius-based Cim Financial Services Ltd. launched “Aspira”, a one-stop mobile app, in Kenya, for financing purchase of products such as furniture, phones, and electronics.
The app, which will be available on IOS and Android mobile platforms, will allow users to apply for credit and get instant credit information, retailer information, loan status and their payment updates. The loan is disbursed directly to the retailer to complete the product purchase.
Cim Finance, the largest non-bank financial institution in Mauritius, has set up Cim Finance Kenya to bring affordable product financing to Kenya.
Cim Finance has more than 250,000 active clients and lends Sh12 billion annually via product financing in Mauritius. It hopes to grow the business in Kenya over the next few years.
According to Yoeal Haile, the CIM Kenya managing director, the app was developed to help clients to easily access affordable product financing.
“The main reason that we use a mobile app is that it provides consumers a quick and easy way to apply for credit and make repayments to us. We don’t need big branches like banks and thus, [we] are able to leverage a very lean business model,” he told Nation Tech.
Aspira is different from other mobile loan apps in Kenya. It does not offer clients cash, but channels the money directly to retailers to help clients acquire products they want.
“We partner with retailers to ensure that customers are using their approved credit limits to buy goods from Kenya’s leading, established and reputable brands,” Mr Haile added.
So how does it work?
Mr Haile explains that one has to download the app from either Apple Store or Google Store. Only then can they apply for credit. Within minutes of applying for credit, a person will know whether he qualifies for it.
“I think one of the biggest problems we solved is the speed of approval,” he says.
After approval, one will have to get to a partner store, and, for a first-time user, pay 30 percent of the price of the item. Thereafter, the person is required to pay four percent simple interest per month on the balance.
For instance, to purchase a Sh30,000 cooker, you’ll pay Sh9,000 deposit to the retailer. The balance will be paid back in three, six, nine or twelve monthly instalments.
Repeat customers do not have to pay a deposit and the interest goes down by 0.5 percent for every purchase.
Aspira provides between Sh20,000 and Sh350,000 credit.
Cim Financing has partnered with Elite Digital, Hotpoint, Jumia, Victoria Courts, Grantech, Nikon, Swarovski, and Sight and Sound.
Mr Haile says there have been more than 5,000 downloads of the app.
“Since we launched, we have had over 1,000 downloads of our app. But before we launched this app, we did a few pilots over the past few months and built up a database of over 4,000 approved customers, mostly through word of mouth and referrals,” he adds.
Aspira joins the crowded mobile loan app market in the country that has come to the rescue of many Kenyans faced with financial difficulties. The speed and ease of access to quick loans makes it an attractive option.