M-Shwari, the mobile lending platform owned by NCBA, has emerged as the dominant player in Kenya’s digital lending sector, capturing a significant 34% share of the market, according to data released by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK).
The statistics provided by the regulatory body indicate that M-Shwari is closely followed by Fuliza at 25%, KCB M-Pesa at 15%, Tala at 13%, and Branch at 9%. Other digital lenders collectively account for 4% of the market.
This revelation was made in conjunction with CAK’s approval of the acquisition of Kopo Kopo, a mobile payments platform in Kenya, by Nigerian fintech Moniepoint Inc. The CAK asserted that the merger would not undermine the competitive landscape of other players within the digital credit market.
Although the exact value of the transaction was not disclosed, CAK confirmed that the combined turnover resulting from the acquisition surpasses Ksh1 billion.
“The Competition Authority of Kenya has approved the proposed acquisition of 100% shares in Kopo Kopo Inc. by Moniepoint Inc. unconditionally,” announced the regulatory body in a statement.
Prior to securing the approval from CAK, Moniepoint Inc., a U.S.-based fintech, did not have an established presence in Kenya. Nevertheless, the company is now set to expand its operations within the country.
Regarding the potential impact on existing digital lenders, including M-Shwari, CAK specified that these lenders maintain a collective market share of only 4%, indicating that the proposed merger would not jeopardize competition in the digital credit market.
“The target entity is ranked among firms with a combined market share of four percent… Premised on this, the proposed transaction is unlikely to lead to a substantial lessening or prevention of competition in the market for the provision of digital credit,” the statement clarified.
M-Shwari, offered in collaboration with NCBA Bank Kenya, is a savings and loan service integrated with Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform. It enables M-Pesa users to access credit, save, and accrue interest. Meanwhile, the Fuliza overdraft facility, developed in partnership with NCBA and KCB Bank Kenya, enables M-Pesa customers to complete transactions even when their mobile wallet has insufficient funds.
The diversity of the digital credit market was emphasized by CAK’s survey, revealing that while there is a multitude of providers, consumers primarily gravitate towards the three main M-Pesa-affiliated loan products: M-Shwari, KCB M-Pesa, and Fuliza.
To date, the Central Bank of Kenya has licensed 32 digital lenders, reflecting the ongoing growth and evolution of the digital lending landscape in the country.