TransUnion has launched a new product designed specifically for the needs of Kenyan consumers.
TransUnion Nipashe is an SMS short code solution that enables consumers in Kenya to easily access their credit information. Through its use, consumers can become more credit conscious and savvy with the ability to receive accurate, up to date information about their credit rating.
“Nipashe means ‘inform me’ in Kiswahili, and that is exactly what our new product aims to do,” says Steve Kamau, CEO TransUnion Kenya. Access to credit from formalised financial institutions is a significant challenge for many consumers in Kenya, and lenders will typically refer consumers to the credit bureau if their loan application is declined for any reason. However, since our offices are in Nairobi, making a special trip to the bureau is not a viable option for many.
Using the TransUnion Nipashe solution, consumers can gain an instant view of their credit standing, and can request a credit report for more information. If an institution has given them an adverse listing, they can work towards clearing it, or if there is a conflict, TransUnion will be able to assist them to resolve it. Consumers can address any issues on their credit profile before applying for credit, helping to ensure their application is processed quickly.
Consumers simply SMS their name to 21272 or 21CRB and register at a cost of KES.50. They can then request their credit status at a charge of KES.19 per SMS, and receive a message back with it their credit status listed as either “good” or “default”. A listing of “good” means that there are no current issues with their credit standing. A “default” message means that there is a flag with one or more of the consumer’s credit accounts. In order to obtain more detail, the consumer can then request a copy of their credit report, which is free once a year. The credit report will provide more detail, including the names of all credit institutions and facilities the consumer is active with, how payments are being made, whether any accounts are in arrears, and how long they have been in arrears for.
“For many consumers, being told they have a negative credit listing is unhelpful as they are unaware of exactly what the issue is. Mobile loans are prevalent in Kenya, typically for small sums of money, however, these can adversely affect credit rating and access to credit when larger sums are needed. Armed with their credit report, they can now easily identify areas that may be reducing their credit rating. This is another way TransUnion is using Information for Good; helping to inform consumers of any potential issues and possible ways to correct the problem and improve their credit standing,” says Kamau.
TransUnion is now able to offer consumers in Kenya a way to understand their credit rating in a quick, interactive and always available way. Mobile is the ideal platform for delivery for the Kenyan market specifically, as mobile penetration rates exceed 90% of the population and SMS is widely available, providing a convenient touch point for consumers to receive information services.
“One of our key channels to access African markets is direct to the consumer, so we need to find ways of taking our products to them in ways that have wide reach and are cost effective. The Kenyan market is dynamic, and highly mobile driven, with practically every citizen having access to SMS. An SMS short code service is therefore an affordable, effective mechanism to reach a broad market and empower them with information about their credit standing,” says Kamau.