Tigo Tanzania has launched a new innovative service as an add-on to its mobile money services. It is a small loans service that is availed to subscribers on the Tigo Pesa service. Dubbed Tigo Nivushe (coined from a Swahili phrase that goes Tigo get me across). Customers will not require collateral to be offered the small loans.
Tigo Head of Mobile Financial Services, Ruan Sawnepoel, said in a statement to the press today that for the first time the nano loans product, called Tigo Nivushe will allow Tigo Pesa customers to build their own credit history and being open to any Tigo Pesa customer turns the typical lending models upside down. No security is required or taken and the loan product has been designed to be transparent and foster responsible lending.
Explaining the product’s flexibility, Swanepoel said Tigo Nivushe offers different lending periods with variable administrative costs based on the length of tenure. The loans – with an average of Tsh 10,000 (US$ 5) – are processed in real-time and funds transferred within minutes. As customers build up their credit history they are able to borrow higher amounts with lower administration fees. Loans are delivered directly to the mobile wallet so customers can immediately use the funds to pay bills, transfer to others, or cash out at the thousands of agents across the country, he noted.
“Tigo Nivushe has been designed to encourage responsible lending. Previous mobile behaviour is used to determine suitable limits for loans and customers will only be able to have one loan at a time. Protection against life shocks is included as everyone will be automatically insured for the loan amount against death or permanent disability. Most importantly, as the product is fee based no interest can be accumulated in the event of default and acquiring a loan will not affect mobile or Tigo Pesa accounts in any way, “ Swanepoel said.
The head of Mobile Financial Services further said: “We are thrilled today to be launching Tigo Nivushe. It is an essential product for driving financial inclusion, which is critical to Tanzania’s continued economic growth and success. These quite small loans can make all the difference and are crucial for building credit history and obtaining credit in the future.”
Disruptive E-money services, delivered through mobile phones have already changed the lives of millions of people. With this new responsible lending product, Tigo wants to change the way people think about lending, according to Ruan.