Securing a loan for personal or business purposes has evolved into a more seamless process; with a smartphone and internet connection anybody with a bank account can put in a loan request at any time and receive it instantly, in most cases. Some loan companies even allow you to use a feature phone by dialing a particular USSD code.
Nigeria, like every other emerging market, is experiencing a surge in money lending companies. But not all of these companies provide reliable and secured services. The best loan services should provide instant disbursement, have a low-interest rate, sufficient repayment time frame and options, and ultimately, good customer relationships.
In no particular order, here are some of the best instant loan apps democratizing access to credit and bridging financial inclusion.
Originally launched as PayLater, Carbon gives instant credit access to anyone in need of an urgent loan within minutes.
Carbon requires its users to input their Bank Verification Number (BVN) for verification, and once that’s done they can request for a loan.
Carbon loans range from ₦1,500 ($3.6) to ₦1m ($2430.13) in Nigeria and Ksh 500 ($4.55) to Ksh 30,000 ($273.10) in Kenya; it allows repayments over a maximum of 64 weeks with interest ranging from 1.75% – 30%, with an equivalent monthly interest rate of 1 – 21%.
Launched in 2017, Branch makes getting a personal loan simple by providing an app that has a seamless onboarding process. Branch uses the user’s phone data including SMS history to verify identity and create a credit score.
It operates in four countries – Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and India – and its loan amount and interest rate in each country are different.
For instance in Nigeria, loan amounts are from ₦1,000 ($2.43) to ₦200,000 ($486.03) with monthly interest between 1.6% and 23%, depending on the loan amount and repayment history. While in Tanzania, loan amounts range from Tsh 5,000 ($2.16) to Tsh 700,000 ($301.87) with monthly interest between 4% and 27%, also depending on the same conditions.
Across countries, Branch users have the option to choose repayment terms for up to 336 days, but every loan amount comes with the option to repay in a minimum of 60 days.
FairMoney is another fast, reliable and free Android loan app that’s available in Nigeria and India.
Loan amounts on this app range between ₦1,500 ($3.6) to ₦500,000 ($1215.07) with repayment periods from 61 days to 1 year at monthly interest rates between 2.5% and 30%.
This app is available on Google Playstore and it claims that 3 million customers rely on them for loans.
Palmcredit loan apps allow users to borrow instant money online with a ‘flexible repayment plan and favorable interest rate.” The loan amount is between the range of ₦5,000 ($12.15) to ₦300,000 ($729.04).
Palmcredit’s interest rate is between 4% to 24%. The app provides two flexible repayment options of 91days and 365days, leaving users to pick which is favourable.
Palmcredit doesn’t charge any rollover or transaction charge. It also rewards customers that repay their loans on time with high credit score and reduced interest rate.
Like every other loan app and their money promises, QuickCheck promises its users they’ll never go broke again. Artificial intelligence is used to run credit scoring and make instant loan decisions.
The loan amount ranges from ₦1,500($3.6) to ₦500,000 ($1215.07) with interest rates ranging from 2% – 30%. Repayment runs through 30 days to six months, depending on the loan type.
This loan app is only available to serve customers in Nigeria with Android phones only.
All these loan apps started off as a single product fintech company offering only loans, but a few of them have pivoted into digital banks. Carbon, Branch and Fairmoney now offer banking services to their customers like payments, savings, investments among others.