Top 10 things you need to know about MTN Rwanda’s MoKash

David Kezio-Musoke

Imagine being stranded, you cant pay school fees or your DSTV subscription has been cut-off. Beyond misery is when you rush to your ATM only to find the machine is down and guess what, it’s the weekend … no one is at work. You probably need a small loan BUT the loan shark will ask for a lump sum 30 percent interest. Here is when MoKash comes in handy. MoKash, a micro savings and loans product, that was recently launched by MTN Rwanda in partnership with Kenya’s CBA. It might as well be the solution to these kinds of scenarios. Below we unpack some 10 facts you probably need to know about the MoKash product.

1. MoKash as a brand was first unveiled in Uganda in 2016
You can think of MoKash as a sub-brand of MTN and since its inception in Uganda the brand has now gone regional crossing borders to neighboring Rwanda. ‘MoKash’ literally means ‘More Cash” and was developed by MTN Uganda (but owned by MTN Group) in partnership with Kenya’s CBA bank. As a service it basically allows one to take mobile micro loans and also make small savings. In Kenya it is branded M-Shwari and was launched by Safaricom in 2012. In Tanzania its M-Pawa and was launched by Vodacom Tanzania in 2014.  

2. Using MoKash in Rwanda is as simple as dialing *182#
It sounds like a fairy tale but to prompt the service there is no paperwork or registration processes involved. There is no lining-up needed (like that in banks). One simply dials a short code and follows the prompts.

3. To use MoKash one MUST be a subscriber on MTN Rwanda Mobile Money
MTN Rwanda boasts of 1 million (and more) active Mobile Money (MoMo) subscribers and these are the targeted ones. Anyone else can use this service as long they buy an MTN Rwanda SIM and subscribe to MoMo. The MoKash customer has to be an active MoMo subscriber.

4. You cant borrow more than Rwf300,000
In Uganda the service was positioned as micro-loans and savings. That’s mainly because its micro in nature and the subscriber can only get a limited amount of the loan and this is not any different in Rwanda. The limit for borrowing is Rwf300,000 and one can save as little as Rwf100, while earning interest of up to 7 percent.

5. The borrowing limit is not guaranteed and it depends on KYC data.
KYC is simply an acronym that means ‘Know Your Customer’. CBA uses MTN Rwanda data to score potential clients. With MoKash, a customer’s MTN phone and Mobile Money usage history is used to develop a credit score. CBA uses an algorithm based on customer use of MTN services to assess credit-worthiness, assign individual credit limits, and lend to new MoKash applicants. MoKash could be first service to apply this to the poor and unbanked segments of an emerging market at scale.

6. With MoKash its CBA bank lending you the money NOT MTN Rwanda
A journalist covering this story told his readers that MTN Rwanda was turning into a financial institution because the company was bound to start lending money. A senior government official made the same mistake referring to MTN Rwanda as a bank. Its important to note that while MTN Rwanda is just the enabler of the technology the float belongs to CBA.

7. MoKash is not ‘MobiCash’ … don’t confuse the two! 
I have talked to a couple of Rwandans who have confused MoKash to be MobiCash and vice versa. Some journalists confuse the two as well.  The two can be a little confusing considering the names of both technological advances sound alike. Both products also have similar cashless, mobile financial functionalities. However MoKash is unique in the sense that it can’t be detached from a bank and a mobile phone as the tech enabler.

8. Forget about the many benefits MoKash offers ‘convenience’ is the BIG DEAL
MoKash brings lots of benefits. It’s paperless and no need for one to sign any documents to open up and transact. We have also been told that there are no minimum balance or ledger fees required (as in banks). However despite all these benefits I believe the biggest win for MTN Rwanda is the fact that the service breaks barriers and provides ‘convenience’. No more hustling with banks and loan sharks. Mokash is instant, in the comfort of your palm.

9. You can’t send money from a MoKash account to another MoKash account
Despite the convenience that comes with using this product/service; you cannot send money from your MoKash account to another customer’s MoKash account. You also can’t pay for utilities or make transactions using MoKash to MoKash. Use MTN Mobile Money to send and receive money from other customers.

10. And lastly what happens in case you fail to pay back you MoKash loan?
When one fails to pay back a #MoKash loan its referred to as a non-performing loan. Most defaulters would be worried of what happens when they default.  However CBA has intimated to us that in case of non-payment, the customer relationship with MTN Rwanda and the MTN Mobile Money service is left largely undisturbed. And as such no need to worry, no airtime or Mobile Money balance is transferred to the loan without the customer’s consent.

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