MTN QwikLoan

Usually when I write articles about telecommunication companies in Ghana it's not in a favorable light, but I have to commend MTN for its new QwikLoan initiative which allows you to borrow (electronic) money directly from the company that is instantly deposited onto your SIM card.

There are basic stipulations you have to meet before they will loan you money, but what it all basically boils down to is that if they're convinced you will pay back the loan they will give it to you, and essentially what that means is that your Mobile Money account would need to have a certain type of transaction history that would give MTN the impression once again that you can/will pay it back, but how exactly they make that decision is unspecified.  For instance according to the website mfidie your account would have had to been active for at least 30 days, but I know someone who said he's been using Mobile Money for the past five years, yet they won't give him a loan, while myself only possessing the account for about four months was able to qualify.

Interest rate on the loan is 6.9% if it is paid back within 30 days.  If the loan is not paid back within a month then the interest jumps to 12 or 12.5%; I can't remember exactly.  Based on what I was told when you take a loan and successfully pay it back you would then qualify to take an even higher amount (the initial maximum is GH₵50.00), and according to mfidie the most anyone can ultimately qualify for, no matter how impressive their repayment history, is GH₵1,000.00.


I can see how traditional banking institutions, especially in places like Ghana where they make you jump through hoops in order to open an account, feel threatened by mobile-money services.  Not only do exponentially-more people use MTN Mobile Money than banks, but unlike banks who tend to only have branches in cities Mobile Money vendors (where you can deposit and withdraw actual cash) are virtually everywhere, and now that MTN is giving out loans (at a better interest rate than banks) in terms of at least borrowing small amounts of cash they may make banks obsolete.


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