Safaricom’s Fuliza platform experienced an 8.3% decline in revenue to Sh5.4 billion in the year to March. The decrease is said to be a result of reduced charges on the platform for overdraft loans, implemented in October 2022. Charges on borrowings between Sh1,000 and Sh1,500 decreased from Sh20 to Sh18, while zero fees on amounts ranging from Sh101 to Sh1,000 were introduced. Those borrowing Sh500 beyond the three days now pay a fee of Sh2.5, which was halved from the previous Sh5.

Despite the decrease in revenue, loans disbursed from the facility increased by 39.6% to Sh701.5 billion, with the number of customers using the platform rising by 18% to 8.1 million individuals. The average loan size, however, decreased to Sh298 from Sh345.20.

This suggests that lower charges on the platform led to higher disbursements, with consumers taking overdrafts averaging Sh1.92 billion a day in the year to March, compared to Sh1.38 billion daily in the previous year. The platform’s accessibility, convenience, and speed in accessing emergency funds have made it more widely used.

Repayments on the loans increased by 31.6% to Sh671.6 billion, resulting in a repayment versus disbursal rate of 95.7%, which is 5.8 percentage points lower than the previous year. This implies that consumers are taking longer to repay their loans and may be experiencing financial difficulties.

Fuliza has provided Kenyans with financial access they may not have been able to obtain otherwise. However, the decrease in revenue emphasizes the need to balance financial inclusion with sustainability. Providing accessible and affordable credit options to customers is vital while ensuring that the company remains profitable and sustainable in the long run.