Kenya: Many borrowers don’t consider the high cost of digital loans – Study
Kenyans make desperate efforts to find money, incurring high costs for loans and invasion of their privacy.
Kenya Competition Authority (CAK) New Study Finds That In Their Quest For Quick And Easy To Obtain Digital Loans, Many Borrowers Ignore The Costs Of Loan Products And Take Loans From Multiple Lenders , although the majority are unable to repay.
This has allowed unscrupulous digital lenders to inflate loan costs by imposing penalties that push cash-strapped Kenyans deeper into financial distress.
“The price of digital loans was not an important factor for borrowers in choosing a lender. The two main considerations are speed of disbursement and ease of repayment,” says the Digital Credit Market study.
“(Only) 27% of digital borrowers were aware of the fees and costs of other digital loan providers in the market.”
The study was undertaken by CAK and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) until June 2021 and is published in the Auditor General’s Report on Authority.
The study found that digital credit prices in Kenya are high, but noted that younger people, in particular, are still looking for loans.
âSome 77% of mobile loan users said they couldn’t pay off a loan at least once. This reflects the high imposition of penalty fees for digital borrowers, âthe report says.
The study also found that 33% of those surveyed said they had multiple mobile loans, revealing the desperation of many borrowers in times of economic crisis.
“There are more loans for men than for women, with 9.71% of men having more than one account against 7.74% of women,” the report said.
“Borrowers aged 25 to 44 had multiple accounts at 11.08%, while adults aged 45 to 64 had 8.01%.”
CAK found that many financial institutions – especially banks and microfinance lenders – withheld information about the costs of loan products from consumers.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has also been tough on digital lenders over the past two years, citing unprofessionalism, intrusions into customer privacy and rising fees.
The CBK has proposed a bill in Parliament – the Central Bank of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – which aims to regulate digital lenders following complaints about their unprofessional conduct.
The bill passed first reading in the National Assembly on February 25, 2021.