During the announcement of Safaricom’s Half Year results in November 2018, Safaricom made a series of announcements, including the launch of an overdraft facility dubbed Fuliza. The product has since gone live with fanfare owing to its offerings.
To reiterate, Fuliza is more of an Okoa Jahazi for M-PESA services, specifically Lipa Na M-PESA products – Pay Bill and Buy Goods, and sending money. In essence, Fuliza complements M-Shwari – but it is not a loan service as the latter offers credit to M-PESA users that should be repaid after 30 days.
Who qualifies for Fuliza
Similar to M-Shwari, Fuliza is offered by Safaricom in partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA). It is available for all M-PESA users, but you must have been using the mobile wallet for more than 6 months. Also, similar to M-Shwari loan limits, the overdraft facility’s limit is based on a user’s transactions profile.
“Our continued collaboration with Safaricom aims to drive financial inclusion in a digital economy. With our technological innovation and responsible lending principles, we will advertently bring more people into the financial system, encourage more transactions, more savings and, ultimately achieve stronger economic growth,” says Isaac Awuondo, CBA Group Managing Director.
The service can be accessed by hitting *234#, which should also give users their overdraft limits. It is available on STK and mySafaricom app.
Differences from M-Shwari
As mentioned, Fuliza is not a loan product.
Once activated via USSD code, it automatically kicks if they fall short of funds when using Lipa Na M-PESA services or sending cash. Users, however, cannot withdraw from Fuliza.
Service fees and interest
Besides the regular M-PESA transaction fees, Fuliza attracts a 1% access fee and maintenance charges on the outstanding balance as shown below:
|Band||Tariff||Promotional Tariff for 30 day from launch|
|0-100||One-time fee of KES 2||One-time fee of KES 0|
|101-500||KES 5 per day|
|501-1000||KES 10 per day|
|1001-1500||KES 20 per day|
|1501-2500||KES 25 per day|
|2501-70000||KES 30 per day|
The overdrawn funds will automatically be subtracted as soon as a user deposits funds to their M-PESA wallet. You will still be able to access the service as payment is regularized. Say your limit is 1000 shillings, and you deposit 500 shillings to your account after using Fuliza (plus interest); you can still overdraw the remainder (KES 500 or less) until the limit is reached again.
Some people have asked if they can get money reversed if they send/pay to a wrong number or till and had used the overdraft. Safaricom says that the reversal process goes into effect if the wrong recipient has not used the money. Similar to conventional reversal processes, transaction fees will not be reimbursed.
Finally, users cannot access the Fuliza limits if they have an unpaid balance after day 30 but can be restored upon clearing the balance.