Kenya’s progressive regulatory environment and high levels of financial inclusion makes it one of the leading lights of African fintech. More than 60 percent of Kenyans own a smartphone and more than one in four (27 percent) have taken a digital loan. The Central Bank of Kenya has also valued Kenya’s mobile payment sector at $36billion with the sector expected to reach a $125billion valuation by 2025.
It is here that Carbon, a Nigerian digital financial services company, is setting up shop.
To get an instant loan of between KES. 500 and KES. 50,000 from Carbon, Kenyans will need to submit:
- their National ID Number
- a Selfie
- Phone Number – which by default will be their M-Pesa number.
Through the app, Kenyans will also have access to payment services to pay utility bills and buy airtime directly.
There are already numerous loan apps available in Kenya. Not only that, Kenyans also have access to a large number of services allowing them to pay utility bills and buy airtime. How Carbon plans to stand out in such a market is what we should all be watching.
Carbon says their app comes with a wide range of features that provide a competitive advantage over other fintech players in the market. These features include:
- Cashback and
- loan top-up,
- and it plans to introduce more features to its app in the coming year.
Carbon says they’re also aiming to drive more purposeful and responsible lending in the Kenyan market. Their system is fully integrated with various Kenyan partners, including Transunion CRB, payment platforms and of course, M-Pesa.
Since launching in 2016, Carbon claims to have amassed 1.8 million users. Initially, their game plan was to provide consumers with access to credit, simple payments solutions, high-yield investment opportunities and easy-to-use tools for personal financial management.
The company says in 2018 alone, they disbursed more than $35.6 million in loans and achieved revenues of $10.4 million.
In March 2019, Carbon also secured a $5 million debt facility from Lendable, a New York and Nairobi-based technology-enabled funding provider.
On their expansion to Kenya, CEO and co-founder of Carbon said, “this expansion presents an opportunity to bring some learnings from other African successful fintech markets to Kenya. It also enables us to explore what has made the Kenyan financial services industry so successful and how this success can be replicated in other markets. Our vision is to be a Pan-African digital bank for Africans and Africans in the diaspora. Taking our services to Kenya represents the first step in realising that vision and truly delivering financial services that Africans at home and abroad need to thrive and excel”.
In their official press release, Carbon says they will also provide services for SMEs. What exact services aren’t clear. They say they’re also working towards providing free credit reports to Kenyan customers to promote financial education in the market. They’re also aiming to create a Kenyan hub to support operations across Africa, tapping into Kenya’s vibrant fintech ecosystem and talent pool.