We cannot overemphasize the power of digital media. Whether your interest is in sports, fashion, politics, or business, there is something for you in the digital marketplace.
So, when Mayimuna Nalumu started her business in beddings, she utilized digital marketing to supplement her physical shop in Kinawataka. And when things got tough following the Covid-19 pandemic, she still relied on social media for possible financial remedies.
“I was checking social media [for money lenders] and I landed on Kray Microfinance. I downloaded their App and filled in my credentials. An agent was sent to me and he visited my business. They gave me my first loan which lasted four months. I have been getting other loans – for three years now,” she says.
Now, that is convenience!
‘Sincerely they have helped me grow my business and I have even expanded and started a mobile money business on top of the beddings,’ she says, only praying that the App be translated to a language she understands better – Luganda.
Kray Microfinance is a digital financial services company that started as a money lending company in 2012 before it realized that digital microfinance is the real deal.
‘We designed and developed a mobile application that enables people to access fast, convenient, and reliable credit. Someone simply needs to go to the Google Play Store and download our App” says Raymond Peter Kiwanuka, founder and managing director of Kray Microfinance.
He says that once you download the App, one of Kray’s agents will contact you and pick up preliminary know-your-customer (KYC) information and then you will be passed for receiving loans.
“For those without smartphones, we developed a USSD where you can access credit,’ Kiwanuka says
Kiwanuka adds that their motivation ten years ago was to be able to provide credit to anyone available. As they went deeper into operation, they realized that there are quite several people who need credit and microfinance services and were unable to access the services. The reasons they gave were that access to banks and lenders was limited on top of bottlenecks in terms of the collateral required and documentation.
‘We came in to solve this problem by not requiring much collateral and someone does not need to come to our offices to access credit. To access the credit, the only thing required is your national ID and yourself,’ he says.
With this convenience, at least 7,800 people have taken more than 18,000 loans over time.
“Most of the transactions are by women. They are the most vulnerable when it comes to access to financial services,” he says.
Kray Microfinance, regulated by the Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority, does not work alone. They have several third-party players such as MTN and Airtel who help in supporting the real-time settlement of transactions.
‘For instance, if someone wants to withdraw money, it does not take more than five minutes to get it on their mobile money accounts. If it is a deposit, it is still the same thing because the platform is up and running 24/7,” he says.
Hope against skepticism
Kiwanuka says some of the challenges faced by digital financial services providers is slow adoption, fraud, and illiteracy.
He is however optimistic that these can be handled through engagements such as the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative by HiPipo.
‘The 40 Days 40 FinTechs is a platform that every digital financial provider should join because it has created awareness in the digital space, not only in Uganda but regionally. This is a platform where you meet like-minded people. If you want to grow, you must share with people to appreciate your product,” he says.
Kray Microfinance is the 11th participant in Season Four of the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative that seeks to highlight the impact of FinTechs in the lives of under-served populations.
Ran by HiPipo, the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative has over the past three years helped more than 100 participating FinTechs benefit from useful Financial Inclusion tools and an introduction to the industry’s emerging technologies such as Mojaloop Open Source Software, and guidance from Level One Project foundational material. The skills gained from this initiative cover Level One Project Principles, Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS), inclusive finance, and FinTech in general.
‘This time we are showing the real impact of these FinTechs. Kray Microfinance is one of the participants touching on the issue of cheap and fast credit. Economies can grow faster if the low-income users can easily access credit,” said HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya, before sending his appreciation to the initiative’s partners including Level One Project, Mojaloop Foundation, INFITX, Cyberplc Academy, Ideation Corner, and Crosslake Technologies with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.