In current economic times, you can easily go broke and need help to pull through the next day. Be it to cater for a meal, pay for fare or school fees for your kids. Everybody has to face financial demons once in a while.
And that’s where lenders come in. They lend you money to cater for your needs with the promise that you’ll pay back later with a little interest.
Banks are the main lenders. But they have many terms and conditions for you to sign before granting you a loan. If you don’t have a reliable source of income, they’ll not touch you.
Enter mobile loan apps, the modern era day-saviours. These entities spotted the gap ignored by banks and took over. Currently, millions of Kenyans seek loans from them and they are making a kill from it.
But with their ease of remittance came high interests rates and short payment periods. Let alone the cruel debt collectors that will keep your phone busy ringing 24/7. So now Kenyans are left in limbo.
And that’s when Fuliza made it’s grand entrance.
What is Fuliza
Fuliza is an overdraft facility that allows Safaricom customers to complete transactions on M-Pesa despite having insufficient funds. Launched in January 2019 by the Commercial Bank of Africa and Safaricom, the facility currently lends 1 billion shillings to Kenyans daily.
How does Fuliza work?
Before 2019, MPesa was experiencing a lot of failed transactions, 58% of which were caused by insufficient funds. To solve this, Fuliza was conceptualized.
Ideally, when you try to perform a transaction through M-Pesa and you don’t have enough balance to cater for the value and transaction fee, the transaction is declined.
However, if you’ve signed up for Fuliza, the transaction goes through despite the insufficient funds. Essentially, CBA bank, the financier of the facility, allows an overdraft from your account within defined limits.
Later on, you’ll be required to pay the overdraft plus the facilitation fee.
You are allowed to overdraw as much as possible within your allocated overdraw limit which is subject to changes based on Safaricom’s prescription.
Safaricom sends you a confirmation message showing your overdraw limit upon signing up.
How to Fuliza MPesa?
To apply for Fuliza Mpesa there are two ways to go by
First, use the Fuliza number ‘234’. Follow these steps
- Go to Phone Dial
- Enter Fuliza USSD Code *234# and Call
- Select Fuliza MPesa
- Select Yes to join Fuliza MPesa
- Select Yes to accept Terms and Conditions
And you are in.
Or, if you identify as digital generation, download MySafaricom App from Google Playstore or Apple Store, sign in with your phone number, and follow these steps
- Open MySafaricom App
- Click on M-PESA at the bottom toolbar
- Select Fuliza M-Pesa
- Tick checkbox to accept Terms and Conditions
- Click on Opt-In
As simple as that.
Either way, the process of signing up for Fuliza is simple but not everyone is accepted to use Fuliza if they don’t meet the requirements.
To qualify for Fuliza you must
- Be a registered M-Pesa Customer
- Be active for the last 6 months.
Most people fail to meet the second requirement and thus don’t qualify, especially new registrants.
Like other loan facilities that allocate debtors with a payment period within which they should pay or accrue penalties and get listed on CRB, Fuliza uses a similar approach but different and more effective repayment approach.
Any time money is deposited in your account, Safaricom deducts until the overdraft amount plus loan fees are fully paid.
For instance, if you have a loan of Ksh1000, and Ksh 2000 is sent to your account, you’ll remain with a balance of Ksh 1000. On the other hand, if Ksh 500 is deposited, it will be deducted, your loan balance drops to Ksh 500 and your MPesa balance is 0.
Have you ever tried sending money to a friend and they tell you not to send it to their main number because it has? Well, that’s why.
The structure Safaricom uses for the allocation and repayment of Fuliza loans ensures that only the most creditworthy customers are given loans.
If you’re an active user of Mpesa, it becomes central in your day to day activities. Hence when you take a loan through Mpesa, you’ll have to pay it sooner or suffer inconveniences while trying to escape.
You’re supposed to maintain regular inflows into your MPesa account for 30 days from the period of loan allocation and are expected to fully pay the loan within these 30 days.
Failure to pay might result in the use of debt collection agencies and a subsequent ban from using Fuliza.
Courtesy of this accountability system, Fuliza has the lowest default rate in the lending industry.
Fuliza Charges and Interest Fees
Safaricom charges an access fee of 1% and a maintenance fee on your outstanding Fuliza Balance as shown below. For instance, a Ksh 10,000 loan attracts a Ksh 100 access fee plus Ksh 36 per day.
|Band||Updated Tariffs (2021)|
|0-100||One time fee of Ksh 2|
|101-500||Ksh 6 per day|
|501-1000||Ksh 12 per day|
|1001-1500||Ksh 24 per day|
|1501-2500||Ksh 30 per day|
|2501-70000||Ksh 36 per day|
As you can see, Fuliza does not charge an interest fee. It replaces that with a maintenance fee which accumulates as days pass by. In addition, standard Mpesa fees apply for transactions that result in Fuliza overdraft.
In our example, after 30 days, the amount payable will be 10000+100+(36*30)=11,180. That’s an 11% interest rate which means Fuliza is expensive over long repayment periods.
How to Withdraw Money from Fuliza
Due to the structure of the Fuliza loan, where it is only accessible by transacting with insufficient funds, you can only withdraw money from fuliza in the following ways.
- Send money to a registered MPesa customer and have them withdraw through an MPesa agent. Ensure your account for normal withdrawal charges.
- Make Payments through Lipa Na MPesa till numbers. This means directly paying for products or services without the need to withdraw first.
- Make payments through Lipa Na MPesa Business numbers.
Therefore the only ways to access Fuliza funds involve operating with another customer or paying for products from a business when you have insufficient funds and your Fuliza overdraft limit has not been reached.
How to use Fuliza.
You can use Fuliza to sambaza airtime/credit to a Safaricom customer but through a Paybill number. For instance, you can buy Airtime for a friend using Pesapal Paybill Business Number 220220 and Account Number: SAFC07XXXXX (Where 07XXXXX is Safaricom Mobile number)
You can use Fuliza to buy Airtel Credit using Lipa Na Mpesa Business number
You CANNOT send a Fuliza loan to an M-Shwari account or use Fuliza to pay an M-Shwari loan.
Fuliza Overdraw Limit
Safaricom prescribes a maximum and minimum limit of the amount of overdraft accessible to every individual customer. This limit is based on your M-Pesa transactions and Fuliza repayment history, if you’re already using the service.
To grow your Fuliza overdraw limit,
- Use Safaricom more frequently. It confirms your loyalty as a customer and Safaricom will be inclined to continue lending you.
- Increase the value and number of daily Mpesa transactions. It proves your ability to handle more money which means if they lend you more, you’re likely to repay them.
- Always pay your loans in time. Never let the 30 days period expire before fully settling your loans.
Take note that Safaricom reviews the overdraw limits from time to time and can alter them anyhow without your consent.
How to Stop Using Fuliza
Loans can become addictive. Anytime you’re short of money, you cannot help but Fuliza. Kenyan youths, in particular, have fallen victim to this addiction considering the high rate of unemployment and hard economic times.
But it gets even worse with gambling especially sports betting. Young men are borrowing loans to bet. They lose and fall deeper into debt.
If you want to stop using Fuliza, first, opt-out from Fuliza
- Dial *234# on your phone.
- Select Fuliza
- Select Opt-out
Alternatively, if you’re addicted, defaulting payment for one month will result in Safaricom banning and hence using Fuliza won’t be an option. Problem Solved!
Terms and Conditions of Fuliza
Among the many Terms and Conditions you are supposed to read and sign before accessing Fuliza services, here are the most crucial.
- You can only use Fuliza funds when you have insufficient balance in your M-Pesa account.
- You must enhance your credit score by using M-Pesa or Safaricom services and build a good transaction history to get a reasonable overdraw limit.
- Safaricom will review the overdraw limit from time to time and will vary yours without giving any reasons.
- If you have unpaid amounts for more than 30 days, Safaricom will suspend your right of using the service.
- You can use the Fuliza service on a continuous basis for 30 days as long as you don’t default.
- Once 30 days are over, Safaricom reserves the sole discretion of extending or renewing your loan term.
- You will be deemed to have defaulted if your facility is due or unpaid for 30 days or if you exceed your allocated overdraw limit.
- If you default on the Fuliza service, Safaricom will terminate the service. The company will also suspend or discontinue your Fuliza registration and access to the service.
- Safaricom can take necessary measures to recover the amounts in default including the use of an independent debt collection agency.
Can Fuliza List you with CRB?
Based on the terms and conditions of using Fuliza, Safaricom can submit your name to CRB if you default in payment. Although CRB listing has not been included in the terms and conditions, Safaricom has the right to take any necessary measures to recover the the amount in default. This does not exclude CRB listing. Hence it is safe to assume Fuliza will forward your name to CRB
Wrapping it up
Fuliza is a revolutionary loan facility that solves a common financial problem; falling short in money when you cannot afford to. It has helped millions of Kenyans since its inception and has become indispensable to some people. Knowing how to Fuliza can save you when stranded. However, depending on Fuliza for every financial woe can get you into trouble. Use it sparingly.