Kenya’s Central Bank has granted clearance to Faraja, Safaricom’s zero-interest credit service backed by partners Equity Bank and EDOMx. After being authorized as a digital credit provider in March 2020 under new fintech regulations introduced by the CBK, Faraja was originally scheduled for release in July last year before regulatory reviews postponed its launch.
With customers able to use the service to make purchases worth between Sh20-100k from participating retailers such as Naivas without interest or fees associated with other short-term loans at rates that can be annualized north of 400%, several thousand have already signed up during pilot testing.
EDOMx allows customers purchasing discounted products using Faraja thirty days to repay their debts after which they earn a return for any financial gains realized during this period via differences concerning discounted product prices relative to market rates as Safaricom recovers debt collections expenses where applicable through account preference suspensions/closures within its smart payment system platform called Faraja valid exclusively via Lipa na M-Pesa fees costing purchasers an amount ranging from Sh23-Sh210 determined by total transaction values including fuel station transactions since both merchants/vendors and buyers share these added surcharges respectively meanwhile EDOmx enables consumers who meet credit criteria thresholds up based on individual identification requirements that cap at Sh100,000 to purchase specific products quantified by customer scores in this digital credit card-like platform for shopping where repayment occurs afterward.
Additionally, Mr. Kyula noted regulatory delays by CBK necessitated the firm adapting to a changing regulatory landscape, implementing a wider range of credit scoring methodologies specifically for marketing segmentation improvements, while also securing an agreement with Visa to test Faraja in America under development with financial institutions and Visa’s support for physical payment cards intended for use after debiting later.