According to Business Daily Africa, four out of ten Kenyans with mobile phones use their devices to get loans online, which is the highest globally. Sadly, that has instigated the rise of loan apps in Kenya without registration fee.
I’m using the word sadly because, as I’ll explain later, there are better ways to deal with the financial emergencies that push Kenyans into the loan app debt trap.
While these apps promise no registration fee, there are several other ‘hidden’ charges, such as service charges, account management fees, late payment penalties, and outrageous interests, which are no different from what the shylocks in our neighborhood charge.
I’ll highlight these charges concerning the leading mobile loan lending apps to help you compare. But, as I mentioned, my goal is to help you avoid the loan app trap and still be able to face unforeseen events financially fit.
Here are the things I’ll focus on in this write-up:
- What are the leading mobile lenders in Kenya?
- Should you get mobile or emergency loans?
- How can you avoid the loan app trap?
Let’s jump into it!
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Leading Loan Apps in Kenya Without Registration Fee and CRB Check
|Loan App||Interest||Loan Limit||Loan Tenure|
|Hustler Fund||8% per annum||Ksh 500 – Ksh 50,000||14 days|
|Tala||0.3 – 0.6% daily||Ksh 1,000 – Ksh 50,000||61 days|
|Branch||2 – 18% of the loan||Ksh 150 – Ksh 100,000||62 days|
|Timiza||1.083% of the loan||Ksh 500 – Ksh 100,000||30 days|
|Direct Cash||36% APR||Ksh 1,500 – Ksh 50,000||91 – 365 days|
|Zenka||9 – 30% of the loan||Ksh 500 – Ksh 50,000||61 days|
|Opesa||36% APR||Ksh 1,500 – Ksh 50,000||91 – 365 days|
|Meta Loan||4% of the loan||Ksh 1,000 – Ksh 80,000||91 – 365 days|
|Bayes||30% APR||Ksh 1,000 – Ksh 50,000||90 – 180 days|
|Zash||25% APR||Ksh 500 – Ksh 50,000||91 – 365 days|
Note that all the above rates are from the lender’s official loan apps on Google Play. Sometimes the rates may not be what these lenders put online, so you need to be wary.
10 Loan Apps in Kenya Without Registration Fee
Here’s a brief review of the 10 of the most popular loan app in Kenya today with no registration fee:
1. The Hustler Fund Loan App
Launched in late November 2022, the Hustler Fund allows Kenyans on the CRB watch list and those with a clean credit record to borrow using their mobile phones.
This government-driven initiative offers individuals personal finance loans starting from Ksh 500 and attracting an 8% annual interest. The maximum limit for individual borrowers is Ksh 50,000.
Borrowers have a 14-day timeline to repay the loan and get another, but if they fail, the interest rate rises to 9.5%, and they’ve until the 30th day to settle it.
2. Tala App Loans Without Registration Fee
The Tala app promises its borrowers a credit limit of Ksh 1,000 – Ksh 50,000, depending on their credit score.
According to the app, the loans attract a daily interest of 0.3 – 0.6% or an annual percentage rate (APR) of 109.50 – 219.00%, and you have up to 61 days to pay.
Failure to pay the loan on time attracts an 8% penalty.
3. Branch Loan App
Branch is another mobile lender that offers Ksh 150 – Ksh 100,000 depending on one’s credit score.
According to the app, there are no processing facilitation or onboarding fees, and you have about 62 days to repay the loan.
The loans attract a monthly interest of 2 – 18% or an APR of 20 – 21%, depending on the limit. The app mentions late fees, but it doesn’t specify how much.
4. Timiza Loan App
Timiza is an online loan app available for Absa customers and every other eligible person. According to the app, the loans attract an interest of 1.083% and a 5% facilitation fee.
Overall, depending on your credit score, you can qualify for anything between Ksh 500 and Ksh 100,000, and you’ve 30 days to pay back.
5. Direct Cash Emergency Loans in Kenya Via MPESA
Direct Cash promises loan limits of Ksh 1,500 to Ksh 50,000 to qualified borrowers. The loan amount attracts an APR of 36% and an origination fee of 1 – 9%.
According to the app, its loan tenure is 91 – 365 days, but most borrowers claim it’s barely a month.
6. Zenka Loan App
Zenka is among the oldest mobile lenders in the country. The app has been running for years, and they keep reviewing their terms.
Zenka promises a loan limit of Ksh 500 – Ksh 50,000 depending on your credit score, and the loans attract an interest rate of 9 – 30%.
Most Zenka loans have a 61-day tenure, but the app doesn’t say anything about the late fees though they exist.
7. Opesa Loan App
Opesa is another old loan app with over a million downloads, showing its popularity. The lender promises loan limits of about Ksh 1,500 – Ksh 50,000 depending on eligibility, and their loans have a 36% maximum APR.
Opesa also charges a one-time facilitation fee of 9.2%, and the loan tenure is 91 – 365 days.
8. Meta Loan App
Meta loan is one of the newest entrants into the Kenyan mobile lending space but enjoys over a million downloads on Google Play.
This mobile lender offers Ksh 1,000 – Ksh 80,000 depending on credit score, and the loans attract a monthly interest of 4% or a 48% APR. Meta loan loans have a 91 – 365-day tenure.
9. Bayes Loan App
Bayes serves as a loan and payment app like the MPESA app. As far as loans go, Bayes allows you to borrow Ksh 1,000 – Ksh 50,000, and the loans attract a 30% interest (of the amount).
According to Bayes, its loans have a 90 – 180-day repayment period.
10. Zash Loan App
Lastly, Zash loans promise loan limits of Ksh 500 – Ksh 50,000, and its loans attract an annual interest of 25%. Zash loans are payable within 91 – 365 days, according to the app.
There is, however, no information on the app about the processing fee or penalties, even though they exist.
Are Mobile Loans in Kenya Without Registration Fee Worth It?
Most Kenyans indeed borrow from loan apps for financial emergencies such as medical visits, unexpected travels, car repairs, home maintenance, and funeral costs.
While these emergencies are unforeseen and not preventable, the question is, are loan apps the solution?
My take is no, and here’s why.
a) Outrageous Interests
Most lenders don’t charge what they show online on their websites or apps. Most of them charge 16% or more monthly, which is too steep.
Moreover, the interest rises in terms of penalties when you delay the payment, and the amount is just outrageous.
b) So Many Hidden Charges
These lenders won’t tell you beforehand but have so many hidden charges you’ll have to incur. Yes, we are talking about loan apps with no registration fee, but the registration fee is not the only one to worry you.
There are others, such as processing, account management, and origination fee, to name a few.
c) Penalties are Severe
The first thing the lenders do when you fail to pay your loan in time is to increase your interest per day for a certain period.
And once the period ends and you fail to pay the loan entirely, they forward your name to the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB).
d) Annoying Reminders and Harassment
Imagine being reminded severally to pay your loan even before the due date. How about when you start receiving threats for not paying up just because you didn’t meet the deadline?
That’s the situation in Kenya and to say it’s annoying is an understatement. Sometimes these lenders call people on your contact list to shame you, which is despicable.
e) It’s A Debt Trap
What’s a debt trap? That’s when you are forced to borrow to repay an existing loan, and that’s what mobile loan apps are.
A debt trap is also a situation when your debt gets out of your control. You just can’t stop borrowing, and the more you do it, the bigger the debt gets and the heftier the interest.
Loan apps put you in such a mess. They are addictive, and if you ask most borrowers, you are forced to borrow from multiple lenders, and that’s not healthy for your financial life.
How Can You Avoid Loan Apps in Kenya Without Registration Fee?
Given that you are likely to borrow to pay an existing loan or can’t stop it despite knowing it’s beyond your repayment capacity, loan apps get you into a debt trap that can be hard to walk out of.
But truthfully, you cannot make any meaningful financial progress when trapped in a debt web. That’s why you need to act fast.
Here’s how to avoid the mobile loan app trap.
a) Create an Emergency Fund
As I mentioned, a majority of Kenyans borrow for financial emergencies. These life events are unforeseen; you can’t just fold your hand and watch a child get sick, a roof fall, or a car break down.
You, however, don’t have to borrow, and that’s where an emergency fund comes in. By creating a fund worth your household’s 3-7 months expenses, you can prepare for emergencies.
b) Concentrate On the Needs
You don’t have to buy it if you can’t afford it or don’t need it. So, putting a distinction between needs and avoiding borrowing and wants can help you a lot in avoiding debts.
Most times, what you make is enough to cover the needs, and thus, there’s no need for borrowing.
c) Work with A Budget
According to finance guru Dave Ramsey, a budget tells your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.’
So, create a budget if you want to manage your money correctly and avoid borrowing mid-month.
Remember, the budget will enable you to allocate some savings to your emergency fund, needs, and investment.
d) Don’t Be Afraid of Making Lifestyle Changes
Change your lifestyle if necessary, especially if it involves saving and avoiding careless spending. You may have to cut down on a few things or even downsize to make some savings.
It may mean not going out often, especially when you don’t have enough, or visiting more budget-friendly spots.
e) Make More Money
This entails different things. You could get a new job, start a side business, or take up an investment such as money market funds and earn more.
Remember, if you can make extra money, you won’t have to borrow. After all, you borrow because you don’t have and a side hustle can help you create the cashflow you need.
Need Help Avoiding Loan Apps in Kenya Without Registration Fee?
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