Standard Chartered Bank has launched SC Juza, a short-term lending mobile app for its clients.

The app is intended to meet the growing demand for short-term unsecured loans that are easily disbursed through mobile wallets. The digital product allows clients to borrow any amount between KES 1,000 to KES 100,000 with a two-month repayment period.  Interest will only be charged on the days the loan is held enabling clients to benefit from early repayments.

Over the last month, SC Juza has been offered to a small segment of customers to enable testing and feedback. Initial use indicates that over 13,346 clients registered on the App, with 88 per cent being able to secure loans and the average loan ticket size being secured is KES 10,000.

Users will need to download the ‘SC Juza App’ that will allow them to access credit upon meeting minimal requirements such as a proven track of loan repayments and a six-month M-PESA subscriber history. Loan requests will then be processed and disbursed speedily into clients’ mobile wallets.

The processing fee for each approved application is set at 5.5%, which means, for instance, a loan of KES 1,000 will incur a processing fee of KES 55. Additionally, the interest rate on loans is 1.6% per month, translating to a monthly interest of KES 16 on a KES 1,000 loan.

To further assist borrowers, the loan tenure is 60 days (approximately two months), providing an extended period for consumers to fulfil their financial obligations without the stress of immediate repayment.

Notably, the service fee is applied only after the first 30 days, adding a layer of flexibility for early repayments. Moreover, interest is accrued daily, meaning that each day adds a small, calculated interest amount to the individual’s outstanding balance, ensuring that the cost of borrowing is clear and accumulative.

Furthermore, the bank has implemented several measures within its app to safeguard consumers from fraud, leveraging built-in technology. The app will also have a fully digitized chat support platform.

These measures include technology specifically designed to detect sim swaps, verifying identities through the Integrated Population Registration Services (IPRS), and confirming with Safaricom that a number is legitimate and has been registered for a period exceeding six months. Additionally, the app incorporates checks with Credit Reference Bureaus to enhance security further.

“SC Juza represents the continued evolution of our digitization strategy. We hope to expand on the gains we have seen in our market with mobile lending products by offering a comprehensive solution that is highly inclusive. In addition, SC Juza will allow our clients to borrow with dignity, in line with our ambition to uplift participation in the financial ecosystem for the underserved,” said Kariuki Ngari, MD & Chief Executive Officer, Kenya and Africa for Standard Chartered.

Last year, the bank launched SC Shilingi, the first “100% digital only” platform offering money market funds in Kenya.  Currently, 74 per cent of the bank’s client base is digitally active with 87 per cent of its sales and 85 per cent of client servicing done through its digital platforms.