Kongola (a Bemba word which means ‘borrow in English) is the name of a loan facility being worked on by MTN for its Mobile Money (MoMo) subscribers to allow them get small short-term loans without the need for collateral.
In partnership with Jumo which is a mobile money marketplace for people, small businesses and mobile operators, Kongola will enable MTN MoMo subscribers get access to finance at varying amounts depending on their credit history on their wallet accounts and their earlier loan repayment speeds.
We were told that the facility is not yet running even though it’s showing on the MoMo menu, but if this is approved, it will increase the percentage of the financially included in Zambia as many people complain about the lack of access to financing of even small loans from the major financial institutions in the country. This might push economic growth as merchants will be able to give their new and existing businesses to make profit that can be reinvested into another project, and the chain continues.
To borrow, subscribers should be over 18 years old, have no outstanding payments with Jumo before and must have an active Mobile Money account.
To repay the loan, borrowers must deposit an adequate amount into their own Mobile Money accounts before the repayment date and the money will be automatically deducted by Jumo on the set date.
To check balances, users have to dial the MoMo short-code. They will also receive messages from MTN on their outstanding loans as an SMS. If a subscriber goes beyond the due date an extension fee of 12.5% is added to the amount to pay back, and if it goes beyond a week, the following will happen to the subscriber:
- Blocked from any other loan access from Jumo
- Credit Bureau will be notified of the default and the user may be blacklisted from ever seeking financial help in any financial institution
- Legal action may also follow against the defaulting subscriber
So far, Jumo has rolled out its money lending scheme to Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda and Ghana with its partners, Airtel, Tigo and MTN. You can see all the terms and conditions of obtaining a Kongola loan here.