A large proportion of Kenya’s population do not have bank accounts and access to loans despite progress in the financial and technical sectors. Loanbee uses machine learning algorithms to calculate the users’ credit scores using their biodata (age etc), data mined from their mobile transactions, and information from Kenya’s Credit Reference Bureau.
Some of Loanbee’s customers include traders who need money for stock, students who need a textbook, families who need food money, or graduates who need money for transport to job interviews. One of Loanbee’s key selling points is the speed at which its users can get a loan – within 10 minutes for first time users, and within a few seconds for repeat borrowers. The loan can be repaid in instalments within 21 days or a lump sum within 30 days. Customers are charged between eight and 18% interest depending on their risk profile.
In its first four months on the Google App Store, Loanbee served over 200 borrowers with loans totalling US$38,000 (29,000 GBP).