Every second, at least 300 people in Kenya make payments using Fuliza, Safaricom’s overdraft facility that has taken the country by storm.
Reports indicate that cumulatively Kenyans borrowed Kes1.2 billion daily from Fuliza window in the six months to June this year or a total of Kes220.38 billion, a 25 per cent jump from Kes176 billion in a similar period last year.
While the numbers are staggering, little attention has been focused on how the ease of using Safaricom improved mobile cash transfer application has made this process almost instantaneous.
Using Fuliza feature on the Safaricom line service requires a series of prompts for confirmation and approvals that would ordinarily be affected by time lags or slow response by users.
However, on the application the pace is lightning speed and once one confirms the option of the overdraft facility, the costs are automatically displayed and approvals are at the click of a button rather than prompted responses.
This has made transacting almost seamless, improving user experience that has kept the telco ahead of its peers in market innovations.
What customers may not know is that behind the scenes, improvements on the M-PESA R6 hardware refresh undertaken in January 2020 paved the way for a successful Release 6 Cutover in July last year, a mover that has greatly contributed to revolution in user experience.
“Smartphones have increasingly become popular as they connect customers to more opportunities empowering them to achieve more at work, in their business, when learning and even for entertainment. In response, we have designed the M-PESA Super App to enhance our customers’ experience every time they use the service, providing them with a simple, fun, secure and convenient digital solution,” said Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.
Kenyans have adopted digital finance primarily because of their convenience, speed and ease of use making Fuliza experience on the improved Safaricom App a key magnet for users.
A recent study by Realanalytics showed Fuliza had grown so much in popularity to challenge M-Shwari loans and savings product that has a first to market advantage.
The study showed that 23 per cent of respondents had used Fuliza second only to M-Shwari’s 28 per cent.
When they asked the respondents why the used the product, 55 per cent said they prefer Fuliza because of the instant availability of its overdraft facility.
This showed that while cost, advertisement, customer care was important to customers across alternatives such as Mshwari, KCB-M-PESA, Tala, Branch and Zenka user-friendliness of M-PESA app that carries Fuliza helped sway its use.
As Safaricom diversifies its product offering, it has learned how users interact with different channels through client behavior and feedback which has helped them build one platform without clutter that systemically addresses everyday need.
The app’s improvements such as organizing recurring bills for payments, saving frequently used till numbers, easy confirmation of recipient displaying official names among others have gone a long way in making application use attractive.
Safaricom introduced a new revamped Hakikisha which is a mandatory step where a customer has the ability to cancel an erroneous transaction or confirm a valid transaction as an improvement on the core M-PESA services such as send money, Paybill, buy goods and services, loans and savings, as well as Pochi La Biashara.
Other features include partner payments where customers are redirected to make payments to partner accounts.
Customers are now able to access their bank; make county, government and premium payments; pay for their transport tickets and parking etc.
But Safaricom is not leaving anyone behind, those who are still stuck with feature phones as a matter of choice or cost have also gotten a new channel to interact with the teclos on the new M-PESA on USSD (*344#) as an alternative channel for accessing M-PESA services and partner payments.
Safaricom said this new channel gives them the ability to innovate and add new products, especially for customers who have feature phones.