Middle aged men are the majority of mobile borrowers in Kenya – Report

Kamau Kunyiha, CreditInfo Regional Manager, East and Southern Africa.

Men between the age of 31 and 40 years are the highest category of mobile borrowers according to data released by a CreditInfo

Middle-aged men dominated the digital loans market borrowing between Sh25,000 to Sh50,000, a finding that further debunks the composition of mobile loans previously thought to be dominated by younger users.

“The majority of the borrowers were actually men between the ages of 31 – 40 years. Despite what people think, it’s not the young people who are the most frequent users. These are people who are working and we can only assume the money is being used for commerce,” said Kamau Kunyiha, CreditInfo Regional Manager, East and Southern Africa.

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The report further reveals that 65 percent of mobile loan borrowers are men.

“The market is heavily dominated by men but what we can see today in mobile lending is certainly an improvement. Central Bank has been reporting that digital financial services – which do not require traditional forms of security – are helping to narrow the gender gap in financial inclusion,” said Kunyiha.

Between November 2018 and March 2019, mobile lending services disbursed Sh112 billion to 4.5 million individual borrowers and 855 companies, with a third of the loans going to middle-aged men.

Borrowers aged 25 and below came second with a 21 percent share, while the 26 – 30 years tied with the 41 to 50 year age set at 19 percent.

Further, 93 percent of the total amount was disbursed by mobile lending apps owned by banks, a finding that bucks an earlier report that showed exclusive mobile lenders like Tala, Branch and Okash have less than 10 percent market share in the mobile lending space.

“It is quite clear and evident that the sector is dominated by banks. The likes of M-shwari, KCB M-pesa, Timiza are the main lenders when it comes to digital credit,” said Kunyiha.

The report further states that 66 percent of borrowers prefer using one lender while only 24 percent borrow from multiple creditors.

Kunyiha said that CreditInfo conducted the analysis to add to the body of knowledge in the market and indicate trends for the mobile loans segment which has revolutionized financial inclusion in Kenya.

“There a lot of ifs and buts. We based this report on the data supplied to us by lenders in order to eliminate those buts and ifs and begin a trend of information that is backed strictly by data,” said Kunyiha.

Borrowers aged 25 years and under have the lowest credit scores and are therefore lent the least amounts while the credit score improves over time as they grow older.

Over this time, individual borrowers applied for loans 4.5 times on average while companies requested for loans 2.6 times on average.

The report shows that those under 25 are lent an average of Sh3,600 while the amount doubles for borrowers who are in the 41-50 age group.

“Young people will often be scored lower since their analytics will show fewer revenue streams and lower money velocity compared with their counterparts in the older demographics who will likely be earning from a salary or a business income. Customers can, however, improve their credit scores by making payments on their loan obligations on time,” said Kunyiha.