Lipa Mdogo Mdogo Phones in Kenya 2024: Are They Worth It?

The Kenyan government has been taxing mobile phone imports enormously, and the one bearing the heavy burden has been the final consumer. Consequently, many Kenyans struggle to afford smartphones, resorting to Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones. But should you go for Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones in Kenya?

Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones, offered by Safaricom, Watu Simu, M-Kopa, Jumia, and several other mobile phone dealers, are loans disguised as installment purchases. If you aren’t careful, they could sink you into debt, making them unworth it.

Of course, these phones have some advantages, such as being authentic and attracting a lower initial deposit. That alone, however, shouldn’t be the reason to get into debt just because you want to own a smartphone.

I’ll discuss the pros and cons of Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones to help you understand what you stand to gain and lose when you decide to get these phones. I’ll also discuss the leading Lipa Mdogo Mdogo companies and their offers, among other information related to these mobile phones:

Here’s what we shall cover:

  • What are Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones?
  • How does Lipa Mdogo Mdogo work?
  • What are the pros and cons of Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones?
  • Where can I get Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones in Kenya?
  • Are Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones worth it?
  • If not Lipa Mdogo Mdogo, Then What?

Let’s dive in!

Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones in Kenya

What’s Lipa Mdogo Mdogo?

Lipa Mdogo Mdogo, also known as Lipa Pole Pole, is a financing program that allows customers to buy products by paying a small initial deposit and the rest in installments. It works in the ‘hire purchase’ fashion, which means you only acquire ownership of the product when you pay the last installment.

The difference with hire purchase is that the lender doesn’t come for the product when you default on your payments. In the case of Lipa Mdogo Mdogo, the lender locks your phone temporarily until you pay before resorting to other measures.

How Does Lipa Mdogo Mdogo Work?

When getting a Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phone, you pay an initial deposit starting at Ksh 500 for Safaricom phones and then daily or weekly payments over one year. If you buy the phone outright—just like a hire purchase —the overall cost is higher than its actual price.

If you fail to pay your installments, Safaricom locks your phone from the fourth day. You can only receive calls and SMS, but you can’t make any. From the seventh day, you cannot receive any calls or SMS, which means the phone becomes inoperable.

Once 30 days pass, and you still won’t pay, Safaricom results in blacklisting you from other its other loan and credit products, such as MSHWARI and Okoa Jahazi. Sooner, they forward your details to the Credit Referencing Bureau for immediate blacklisting.

It’s also worth noting that Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones are not returnable, even after you cannot pay the loan. Moreover, you cannot use FULIZA to make the payments. You must deposit the money in your phone or receive it from someone.

When the device is lost, damaged, or stolen, you must continue making payments. Safaricom can only help you lock it and try to locate it, but you must continue with the payments.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Lipa Pole Pole Phones in Kenya?

The Pros

Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones come with these advantages:

  • Low initial deposit – In the case of Safaricom phones, the initial deposit starts from Ksh 500 for Itel 124, Neon Smarta, and Neon Ray Ultra to about Ksh 5,000 for Tecno Camon 17. Such a down payment is affordable for most Kenyans.
  • Free data – Safaricom Lipa Pole Pole phones come with 1GB of free data for one month. Furthermore, Safaricom awards you 100MB free after seven successful timely payments.
  • Warranty—Once you buy the device under the Lipa Pole Pole program, it has at least a one-year warranty.
  • Authentic device — You don’t have to worry about buying a fake phone, as Lipa Pole Pole phones are 100% genuine, which means they are reliable.
  • Buy for other people — Under the Lipa Pole Pole program, you can also buy a phone for other people. However, you’ll be responsible for the payments, not the user.
Safaricom Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones

The Cons

Here are the concerns of Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones:

  • Expensive in the long run – Though the initial deposit is quite affordable, the amount you pay in the long run is higher than what you could have paid in cash. Remember, you aren’t just paying for the phone but also paying for it with interest. For example, while it costs Ksh 18,300 to buy Itel A60 in cash, it costs Ksh 38,624 under the Lipa Pole Pole Safaricom program. That’s about Ksh 20,000 more.
  • You don’t own the phone – Until you pay the last installment, you do not own the device. You can’t do what you want with it, like sell or give it to someone.
  • The device can be locked – Once you default in your payment, Safaricom locks the device on the fourth day, barring you from making calls or texting. And on the 7th day, they bar you from receiving either.
  • Blacklisting – Once 30 days pass, Safaricom blocks you from its other loan products, including Okoa Jahazi, before forwarding your details to CRB.
  • You still have to pay even when the device is lost, damaged, or stolen – In all these cases, the lender doesn’t care. You’ve to make your payments. As I mentioned, Safaricom can only help you lock it and possibly locate it if it’s stolen. However, you must keep your end of the bargain, and that’s to continue with your payments. 
  • Can’t pay with Fuliza – Even if you have a Fuliza limit, you cannot use it to make regular payments. You’ve to have money in your MPESA wallet to do it.

Where Can I Get Lipa Mdogo Mdogo Phone?

While Safaricom used to be the only one offering Lipa Pole Pole phones, more companies and phone dealers are now doing that. Here’s where to get Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones in Kenya:

  • Safaricom shops
  • M-Kopa outlets
  • Watu Simu (an affiliate of Watu Africa)
  • Jumia

Let’s discuss the four options:

Safaricom Lipa Mdogo Mdogo Phones

Safaricom generally offers Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones to applicants who meet these eligibility requirements:

  • Must be Safaricom customers for at least one year
  • Should be using a 2G/3G mobile device
  • Shouldn’t be blacklisted for Okoa Jahazi or any other Safaricom credit service
  • Shouldn’t be blacklisted by CRB
  • Should be 18 – 75 years
  • Accept Safaricom’s Lipa Mdogo Mdogo terms and conditions

You can check eligibility by dialing *544*5# and following the prompts. Overall, here’s a summary of the phones available on Safaricom Lipa Mdogo Mdogo:

Phone ModelActual Price (Ksh)Deposit (Ksh)Daily Payment (Ksh)Total Lipa Mdogo Mdogo Cost (Ksh)
Neon Ray Pro10,00050020
Non Smarta11,4005005018,902
Itel A2414,2005005018,785
Neon Ray Ultra14,8001,5005019,764
Tecno Spark 718,0003,00050
Itel A6018,3002,00010038,624
Tecno Pop 722,7003,00010039,583
Tecno Camon 1727,0005,00080

M-Kopa Phones Lipa Mdogo Mdogo

M-Kopa currently offers Samsung and Nokia loan products under its pay-as-you-go financing program. Before you can take the phone home, you need to deposit Ksh 3,500, and then pay the rest over a year or so. You can dial *685# or use the M-Kopa mobile app to apply.

Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones

Watu Simu Lipa Mdogo Mdogo Phones

Watu Simu deals with only Samsung Galaxy mobile phones and tablets under the Lipa Mdogo Mdogo plan. The phones attract a declining interest rate of 15 -10% after making an initial deposit of Ksh 3,800 – Ksh 48,000, depending on the device model.

They have a weekly payment plan, and you must clear your payment within 52 weeks (12 months).

Jumia Lipa Mdogo Mdogo Phones in Kenya

Jumia Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones require you to make a 50% down payment and clear the remaining balance in 6 months. So, they are among the least affordable.

Other Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones companies in Kenya

Other companies of dealers offering Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones include:

  • PriceInKenya.com
  • PhonePlaceKenya.com
  • PhoneStoreKenya.com
  • PhoneHubKenya.co.ke
  • LipaMdogoMdogo.com
  • DigitalPhones.co.ke

Are Lipa Mdogo Mdogo Phones Worth It?

While Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones are affordable initially because of the low down payment, they are expensive in the long run. I just gave you an example of the Itel A60, which costs more than twice its actual price when you buy it under the Lipa Pole Pole program.

As you can tell from the table I shared earlier, it’s not the only phone you pay an outrageous amount for in the long run. This reason alone makes Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones not worth it.

The other reason they are not worth it is that you don’t have power over the phone. Until you pay the last installment, the lender can lock the device and prevent you from communicating with your family and friends. You can also not give this phone as a gift to anyone.

The last reason, undeniably the most serious, is that Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones get you into debt. You become a slave of the lender. And when you can’t pay, the lender may result to blacklist you, and that generally hurts your credit score. So, it’s not worth it.

Lipa Pole Pole phones

If Not Lipa Mdogo Mdogo, Then What?

Having said that Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones are not worth it, you most likely would ask: “Then what?” “How do I get money to buy a new phone or tablet?”

Well, my recommendation is to set up a sinking fund. A sinking fund is a savings plan for large purchases or huge expenses like a smartphone that isn’t urgent. You can save up for a few months until you can buy the phone in cash, which saves you from the Lipa Mdogo Mdogo debt trap.

Here’s how to go about setting up a sinking fund for your mobile phone:

  • Decide how much you want to save depending on the cost of the phone you intend to buy
  • Open an interest-bearing savings account or money market fund account and start saving
  • Include the sinking fund contribution in your Budget
  • Start saving and direct any money you free up to the sinking fund

Concluding Thought:

As we’ve shared, as enticing as Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones are, they aren’t worth it. In the long run, they are expensive to pay and immediately get you into debt. So, we don’t recommend Lipa Mdogo Mdogo phones in Kenya. However, we recommend setting up a sinking fund for the mobile phone and patiently saving up for it.

Written by Alex

Written by Alex

I have passion in helping people Make, Manage, Multiply & Protect Wealth.Download my Free Guide to Financial Freedom >>[ GET IT HERE]<<