In 2019, Safaricom rolled out the Fuliza service in partnership with NCBA bank. This service aims to help M-PESA customers to complete transactions when they have insufficient funds in their accounts.
In this guide, you will learn how to use Fuliza and how to repay your loan.
Why do you Need Fuliza Loans?
Fuliza enables users to overdraw on their accounts and complete transactions. This makes Fuliza convenient to use during emergencies.
Fuliza loans are instant, unlike bank loan approvals that could take days. Additionally, they are easily accessible.
How to Fuliza
To start using this service, dial *234# and choose “Fuliza M-PESA.” The prompt will ask if you want to join Fuliza M-PESA. Reply with “Yes,” accept the Terms and conditions, and wait for Safaricom to approve your request. You should receive a message within an hour.
Once you have subscribed to Fuliza, you can send money, buy goods, or pay bills even when you have insufficient funds. That means that you can use Fuliza with the following options on your M-PESA menu: “Send Money” “Pay Bill,” and “Buy Goods and Services.” Note that you cannot withdraw money using Fuliza.
But how does it work? Let us say you are sending your mother 500 shillings and you only have 200 shillings in your account. You will follow the same process you use to send money. M-PESA will notice that your funds are insufficient and will ask if you want to Fuliza the deficit. Reply with “Yes” and complete your transaction.
The amount you can Fuliza depends on your overdraft limit. To grow this limit, you should use Safaricom and M-PESA services frequently. Also, as long as you have not exhausted your limit, you can use Fuliza continuously. Dial *234# to check your limit or to opt out.
Safaricom charges a one percent access fee and a daily fee of zero to 30 shillings on your outstanding balance. The table below shows daily charges on outstanding balances.
|Band||Tariff||Promotional Tariff for 30 Day from Launch|
|0-100||One-time fee of Ksh 2||One-time fee of Ksh 0|
|101-500||Ksh 5 per day|
|501-1000||Ksh 10 per day|
|1001-1500||Ksh 20 per day|
|1501-2500||Ksh 25 per day|
|2501-70000||Ksh 30 per day|
Before using Fuliza M-PESA, you should take note of the above charges. Additionally, you should read the Fuliza terms and conditions to better understand this service.
How to Repay M-PESA Fuliza Loans
M-PESA will recover the amount you owe automatically. This means that when you deposit or receive money in your account, the funds’ priority is to clear your outstanding balance before you can carry out any other transaction.
You could find this inconveniencing if you are not willing to take out another Fuliza loan and you do not have enough money to clear your balance and carry out the intended transaction.
If you fail to repay your Fuliza loan after 30 days, you can no longer access your limit. In the unfortunate event that you default your loan, you could face the following consequences:
- Inability to access Fuliza M-PESA
- M-PESA will ask you to repay the balance with immediate effect
- If you have an account with NCBA, the bank will “hold any of your funds standing in credit as collateral and security” for the debt owed
- The lender will report you to the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB)
- M-PESA will send an independent debt collector to recover the amount owed
- NCBA will “set off over funds” held in your NCBA accounts
The Flip Side
As long as your Fuliza balance remains unpaid, you could find M-PESA services like paying for goods and sending money beyond your reach. You can deposit and receive money, but these funds will go towards repaying your loan until the balance is cleared.
So, if you are not ready to repay your loan, you might find yourself in a pickle. Firstly, you will have to avoid using M-PESA, which is a painful process. Kenyans use M-PESA almost daily, which means that avoiding this platform is not an option. This is the greatest leverage that Safaricom has as a mobile money lender.
Secondly, you will have to caution senders against sending money to your M-PESA account, which can be a tedious process.
According to an article on kenyans.co.ke, over 380,000 borrowers had defaulted on mobile money loans by March 2019. Therefore, while it is vexing that Fuliza loan repayments are automatic; it is clear why Safaricom has chosen this approach.
Fuliza M-PESA is helpful but it can lead you down a stressful path if you are not careful. As a result, only use this service when you need to and do not borrow what you cannot repay.