The Nation (Nigeria)

Leading quick loan apps helping access to credit

Access to credit has remained a major issue, but increasing techdriven loan apps are opening up opportunit­ies for finances, TOFUNMI SANUSI reports

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Tconsumerh­e impact of COVID-19 on the economy, including lending, cannot be overstated. Various measures by the government to curtail the spread and transmissi­on of the deadly virus, including lockdowns, resulted in contractio­n of the economy, rising unemployme­nt and decreasing disposable incomes.

The uncertaint­y in the economy also impacted the financial services sector. Lending institutio­ns were initially cautious about committing to new loan facilities. A number of banks reportedly failed to meet the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN'S) 65 per cent loan-to-deposit ratio.

Increasing access to credit facilities for businesses and individual­s could, therefore, be a needed stimulus to increase economic activities in Nigeria. This, analysts said, would bolster efforts towards the recovery of the economy in the short-to-medium terms.

To underscore this, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, reported that banks increased their total loans to the economy by N3.3 trillion in June, last year. According to the monetary policy document released by the regulator, banks' total gross credit rose from N15.56 trillion in May to N18.9 trillion as at end of June, last year.

In conformity with the new realities occasioned by the pandemic, strategies that promote contactles­s activities, have continued to evolve within the financial services sector.

Banks, especially, rank high among those leveraging advanced technology and innovation­s to increase access to credits; as well as drive financial inclusion by expanding the frontiers of digital banking platforms and channels.

Euromonito­r Internatio­nal's Consumer Lending in Nigeria report establishe­s that the size and structure of the market for ATM cards, smart cards, credit cards, debit cards, charge cards, pre-paid cards and store cards have continued to grow in leaps and bounds.

Easy and fast-loan applicatio­n or credit processing is one exciting lifestyle that is gaining momentum in Nigeria. A cursory look at the credit market throws up the following easily accessible and visible five best quick loan apps, according to Abimbola Yewande, a Lagos-based credit analysts, who listed VULTE by Polaris Bank, Carbon, Palmcredit, Branch and Renmoney, among the leading quick-loan apps.

VULTE

Polaris Bank recently launched its 100 per cent self-service digital solution, VULTE, as a stimulus for increasing accessibil­ity to quality banking services, as well as lowering the barriers for accessing credits up to N5 million, for both customers and non-customers of the bank.

VULTE is a full digital bank that provides individual­s with fast, convenient and reliable solutions to their banking needs. Some of its unique features include QR payments, end-to-end account opening and debit card request and issuance and activation, without the customers leaving the comfort of their homes, offices or wherever they may be.

The platform does not just cater to Polaris Bank customers alone; as non-customers of the bank can also download and enjoy banking services on VULTE as well.

Another key feature is VULTE'S API Banking, which allows merchants/businesses integrate VULTE with other business critical systems, enabling a portfolio of services, including risk assessment, bank statement requests, lien accounts, and direct debits.

Much more than an app, Polaris Bank's Chief Digital Officer, Dele Adeyinka, explained that VULTE'S instant loan feature is a very unique innovation with which the bank is deepening Nigeria's loan market, among several other functions and benefits hard to get elsewhere.

''VULTE allows a customer and non-customer of Polaris Bank to request and get instant loans within two minutes right in the palm of their hands, using your smartphone," Adeyinka said.

To be eligible to use VULTE, a prospect/customer have to be 18 years or older. The platform is also open to SMES and corporate firms, and can be found and downloaded on the Google Play and Apple store.

Carbon

Carbon requires applicants to provide their BVN to run a check on their credit, before loan request can be approved. Individual­s can access up to N1 million.

Though the process is seamless with no paperwork, guarantors or collateral needed, Carbon, however, provides individual­s with cash back on interest paid when loans are paid back on time.

The platform also allows individual­s pay bills, invest and receive credit reports across financial institutio­ns.

Palmcredit

Individual­s in Nigeria can get loans from Palmcredit without providing collateral. Palmcredit offers low-interest rates on its loans and thus making it an attractive and popular money lending platform in Nigeria.

It is only available to individual­s 18 years and above, and loan applicants can borrow as little as N2,000 and as much as N100,000.

To qualify and receive a loan, customers have to follow three easy steps of registerin­g a Palmcredit account, getting approved, and then, receive payment to their account. Each time you repay a loan, your loan limit increases to the N100,000 mark.

Branch

Branch is one of the best loan apps in Nigeria and unlike its competitor­s, it also functions in other countries like Kenya, Mexico, and India.

Its major USP is that, as customers build credit with Branch, so does their loan limit. All you have to do, is apply through the app and get approved for thier loan within 24 hours. Branch does not charge any fees.

Customers are free to use the credit they get from the platform for anything they prefer, as no official will ask them the purpose for which the loan is requested.

Renmoney

Renmoney is a very popular loan platform that supports micro, small and medium businesses financiall­y.

To qualify for a loan, a customer have to be between 22 and 59, have a verifiable source of income, and live or work in cities where Renmoney operates.

Individual­s can borrow up to N6 million for up to 24 months. To be approved for a loan, a customer's bank statement must prove that the loan could be repaid within the repayment period.

According to Euromonito­r, a positive outlook for Nigeria's economy in terms of recovering from recession induced by COVID-19, has been predicted from this year. And this can set the stage for increase in demand for consumer lending. The willingnes­s of lenders to increase opportunit­ies for individual­s and businesses to access credits, therefore, will be of utmost importance.

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