Xiaomi Official Logo

Xiaomi India is launching Mi Credit, a personal loan service targeting millennials. Yes, it is an app, and yes it is currently only available for the Indian market where the company happens to be the biggest seller of smartphones.

What’s important to understand is this: Xiaomi isn’t the one providing the credit. No, rather they’re the link. They’re the connection between someone seeking a loan, and the loan provider. Which sounds odd for anyone in Kenya.

Xiaomi has been piloting Mi Credit in India since May last year, where they’d partnered with a startup in India for the product. This official launch sees them partner with 6 lenders who will be availing the loans to the borrowers.

Here’s how Mi Credit works:

  • Download the app from Play Store
  • Registration with Mi Account and Phone number
  • Uploading of identification documents
  • Adding of bank details for transaction

This doesn’t sound very different from Kenyan loan apps. But in Kenya, in many cases, you only give your ID number, and you’re done. No documents, no bank details etc. Because everything is done and facilitated over mobile money.

With the Mi Credit app, borrowers can get between 1000 Rupees, and 100,000 Rupees. That is between KES. 1500 and KES. 150,000. The money is payable in monthly installments, and the repayment period ranges between 91 days, and 3 years. Interest rates start at 1.35% per month. Which is perhaps the best thing about this loan facility. Interest rates in Kenya are extremely high.

The Mi Credit app will calculate – free of charge – a user’s credit score, so as to know what loan amount can be advanced to them. How is this done? Well, users will need to give the app permission to view their texts, and call logs. Xiaomi says this whole process only takes a few minutes – with the whole loan application process lasting only 5 minutes.

Xiaomi has said all data is well stored, and encrypted in Indian data centers, and that all lenders on board have signed agreements on data protection.

If you’re a user in Kenya, you’re probably wondering why have one app for different lenders? Here all lenders, have their different apps, and different rules. Well, there’s a couple of benefits both for users, and lenders:

  • Users have higher chances of securing a loan.
  • Loan companies can now access a huge customer base
  • Does away with the cycle we are seeing of people borrowing from a myriad of apps, and not knowing how to repay.

On the success of the platform?

I think success is assured because of obvious reasons: Xiaomi is the biggest seller of phones in India, and all phones they ship in the country going forward will come pre-installed (yes more bloatware) with the app. Plus, it won’t be a preserve of Xiaomi users – nope. Anyone can install the Android App and sign up for a loan.

I wonder if a super loan app would work in Kenya. Imagine all lenders being available on one app. Would that be a good thing?


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