One of the issues with the LendmeMula micro-credit service that we have covered here before, is that so far borrowers have had to wait for up to 24 hours before they could access the borrowed money in their bank accounts. The money had to be transferred by Lendme to their bank accounts. This made the process somewhat slow, and where a borrower did not have a bank ATM card, they had to pray they could access their money before the banks closed their doors.
But this won’t be an issue anymore. Borrowers will now be able to access their cash at any time of the day and at more outlets than just their bank. Lendme founder Michael Charangwa says they have partnered eTranzact to make borrowed money available instantly to the borrower via a card. They have basically cut out the borrower’s bank from the chain.
The big deal here is that the MulaConnect card is ZimSwitch enabled. This means LendmeMula borrowers can access the cash from any ZimSwitch enabled device. ZimSwitch enabled ATMs and Point of Sale machines are available throughout Zimbabwe so this adds significant convenience to the LendmeMula customers.
Speaking to Lendme founder Michael Charangwa recently, he told us “Essentially in association with Etranzact, the card is a ZimSwitch enabled card linked to a virtual account that we are issuing to all LendmeMula customers and can be used by them to access cash or buy at any ZimSwitch Point Of Sale”
The personalized MulaConnect card is issued for free the same day that a LendmeMula account is approved. Thereafter when they apply for cash and they are eligible to borrow, they are issued the cash and can access it immediately from ZimSwitch ATMS and POS devices.
Lendme however still limits the microcredit service to formally employed individuals. In a country where the unemployment rate is said to be around 90%, this seriously limits the current size of their market. Asked about this Charangwa said they recognize this and are working on a product for the informal/entrepreneur market. “We are designing a product we think will suit this market. We recognise the fact there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there making regular income and quite credit worthy,” he explained.
Lendme started off as an airtime credit service back in May and quickly expanded the next month to include Microcredit with LendmeMula product when they got into a US 1.8m deal with Buildvest , a Zimbabwean registered micro-lender. The service gives approved account holders short-term loans of up to US $250.