Customers Cry Foul Over Harassment By Mobile Money Lenders

Customers Cry Foul Over Harassment By Mobile Money Lenders

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Ajua’s Customer Loyalty Benchmark for Quarter 4 2019 has shown that banks are continuing to face competition from mobile money providers and SACCOS. Data from the Integrated Customer Experience company Ajua, has shown that Kenyans are more informed and are actively exploring other options that suit their budgets particularly mobile money lenders. 

Mobile money usage has grown from 27.9% to 79.4% in the last decade compared to a growth of 26% in traditional banks usage over the last 13 years according to the 2019 FinAcess Household Survey co-written by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and the Financial Sector Deepening Kenya (FSD).

Ajua found that 27.3% of Kenyan consumers who did not have bank accounts cited low income and working in the informal sector as the main reasons for not having bank accounts. Some prefered using M-Pesa because it allows them to save relatively less money compared to banks which close an account once it remains dormant for a while. The respondents also mentioned that they were discouraged by the relatively high transaction charges. Speaking on why they preferred mobile banking to traditional banking customer shared, “I have but it became dormant account when my contract job period ended.am jobless.” 

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Customers Cry Foul Over Harassment By Mobile Money Lenders

However, despite the growing demand for these services, customers increasingly reported experiencing hostile treatment when being asked to repay their loans. In a bid to recover debts, some lenders resort to accessing information from their customer’s contact list prompting their contacts to push the loanee to clear their debt without their customer’s consent, an act which many customers feel is a breach of privacy.

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When Ajua asked Kenyans what they considered most important when choosing a mobile money lender most customers considered interest rates, repayment duration, the period of the loan disbursement and dignified treatment of customers. Speaking on their criteria, one customer replied, “Reasonable rates, they do not call or text everyone on your contact list to tell you to pay the loan if defaulted for sometime…”.

In the long run, these methods of debt recovery ranging from intrusive calls to aggressively texting loanees multiple times in a day are both ineffective and unsustainable for lenders as such tactics often lead to a high churn rate and loss of revenue in the process. To prevent this from happening, mobile money lenders need to improve their customer experience, stay competitive in the market and be compliant with the Data act of  2019. One way would be to leverage on the existing gaps and ensuring transparency by simplifying and communicating Terms and Conditions better, charging reasonable interest rates and ensuring fair and respectful treatment of customers.

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Ajua, Africa’s first Integrated  Customer experience company has been publishing quarterly Customer Loyalty Industry benchmarks to keep businesses informed of their performance in customer loyalty and help businesses understand the drivers of growth within their respective industries. The report covers 9 industries from mobile money lenders, pharmacy and food and beverage among others. If you would like to share your feedback in future benchmark reports and more, join the Ajua community to give businesses your feedback to help them serve you better. Dial *466# and earn a reward when you share your feedback.

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