Apps in the Kenyan market that can help you save money and manage your finances
Technology’s work is to make things easier, and money saving apps are doing just that.
The past few years have seen an explosion of saving apps that help people save and manage their finances. Whether for seasoned savers or for those just starting out, these savings apps are doing more than enabling mobile money deposits and checking account balances; they are inspiring people to get into the rhythm of saving without overthinking and ultimately building healthy money habits.
M-Shwari is perhaps one of the country’s most popular savings and loan apps. Developed in 2012, M-Shwari, which is a bank account, and is subject to all the regulatory requirements of a bank in Kenya, allows users to save as little as KSh1 and earn interest at the rate of up to 6.3% per annum.
M-Shwari is accessible to M-Pesa users and this makes it easy to send money from M-Pesa to M-Shwari or withdraw from M-Shwari to M-Pesa. One can also check their transaction history via the M-Shwari mini statement to see how often they deposit money, the loans they’ve taken out and their lock savings. The Lock Savings account on M-Shwari offers a higher interest rate which is earned daily but paid out monthly (into the Lock Savings Account). The money saved here has a maturity date and is usually locked between one and twelve months. It takes 48 hours to get the money upon making a withdrawal request.
Chumz is among the latest entrants into the money-saving apps in Kenya. The application which won the Best Mobile App for Digital Savings 2022 in the Mobile App Awards, enables one to save as little as KSh5. Users are allowed to create their goals for saving money or, they can use the ones that are already pre-set on the app. On locked savings, a user earns 8% per annum while normal savings earn 6% per annum.
You can also choose to save in Groups with friends, which has an option of chatting with members in the group. The app will regularly send reminders, encouraging someone to add a little more to their savings. Once a user requests to withdraw money from their Goal, it takes two days to get the funds which are deposited to their M-Pesa account.
The Hustler Fund is a government initiative meant to accelerate financial inclusion and make financial services more accessible to MSMEs and individuals in Kenya. The Hustler Fund was launched in 2022 and has different loan products designed for personal finance, microloans, SME loans and Start-Ups. Other than loans, the Hustler Fund has a saving facility that can be accessed in two ways; by requesting a loan and by sending directly to the savings through mobile money. This is how it works – when you save, 70% of the amount will be deposited into long-term savings and 30 % into short-term savings. It is important to note that when you want to withdraw money, you can only access short-term savings.
If you’ve taken out a loan, you’ll still be able to save. However, 5 % of your loan will go into your savings and be split into long-term and short-term savings. That means 70% of the 5% will go to your pension (long-term) and 30 % of the 5% will go into your short-term savings. The Hustler Fund can be accessed via the mobile network operators in Kenya – Safaricom, Telkom and Airtel – or through USSD.
KCB M-Pesa almost mimics M-Shwari but there are differences in interest rates and how much one can deposit. KCB M-Pesa was launched in 2015 and like M-Shwari, offers users the option to borrow and save. On the platform, one can save starting with a minimum amount of KSh50 and enjoy an interest rate of over 6% per annum. One can choose from two options to deposit their money into; either a Target Savings or Fixed Savings Account. On the Target Savings Account, a user can continuously deposit their savings until they reach their target amount which they can set for a period of one to 12 months. The initial deposit amount on this account should not be less than KSh50.
On the Fixed Savings Account, however, the minimum amount is KSh500 and the money is locked for a period of one to 12 months. The account earns an interest rate of over 6% per annum on accumulated savings but, if withdrawn before the locked period is over, all the interest that would have been acquired will be forfeited.
The KCB M-Pesa Account can be accessed through the M-Pesa menu on the Loans and Savings option.
Mali is an investment product that allows M-Pesa users to invest with a minimum amount of KSh100.
Mali is also a Money Market Fund that provides a 10% interest rate per year which is computed and compounded daily. Depositing and withdrawing funds from the platform is absolutely free. It’s however important to note that users can only deposit or invest money from their M-Pesa accounts and withdraw from Mali to their M-Pesa account.
Further, there is no set limit as to how much one can invest but, the daily M-Pesa transaction limit of KSh300,000 and per transaction limit of KSh150,000 are applicable. The minimum amount of money the platform allows one to withdraw from their savings is KSh10.
Sortika is a mobile-based wealth management solution that provides saving and investing options for customers. The app can be downloaded from Google Play Store or App Store. Based on the savings and investments one picks, you can earn interest which is calculated based on the yield of the asset against the amount and time invested in that asset.
The minimum one can save is KSh1 and one can save for as long as one wants.
This is how it works; you create a goal with how much you intend to save and choose how long you want to lock the goal, either for 20, 90, or 100 days or one or two years. Then, choose whether you would like to earn interest on the goal. If yes, the money is redeemed in 48 hours, if not you can withdraw instantly.
The interface shows you your saving progress, the amount you have saved, the target amount, the interest you have earned, when you started saving, and the date you’ll wish to end saving. If you want, you can edit the goal, transfer the goal to another goal, disable the goal, or delete the goal.
There are several saving goals available among them savings goals, investment goals, group goals and BYOB-Be Your Own Bank goal.