Who is Pezesha?
Pezesha means Financial Empowerment (Pesa and Wezesha). We are a financial marketplace. We connect investors to quality SMEs on our platform. SMEs are small and medium sized businesses looking for working capital to grow their business or finance an invoice, LPO financing or supply chain restock. On the other hand the investors are investors (Kenyan and international) who wish to support growth of the small business sector in Kenya while expecting a return on their investment.
Who is an SME in Pezesha’s context?
A small business either as a sole proprietor or limited liability registered under Kenya laws in any sector.
What is the SME application process? How long does it take?
The application process takes roughly 1-5 business days and entails the below process but not limited to;
- Fill in the online web application through this link
- Read the terms and conditions carefully before submitting the application here
- We will then assess the SME application and do credit scoring based on the information the SME has submitted, please ensure you submit accurate information at all times as it will determine the accuracy of your credit score and boost your eligibility. We might ask for additional information at this stage to better assess you and your business in relation to our risk assessment process. The sooner or quickly the SME submits any additional information requested by our team then we can efficiently complete the credit assessment process
- After the credit assessment process is completed, and you qualify based on your business credit score, we will then send you a loan offer with terms clearly stated out
- Thereafter accepting the loan offer and schedule we will then match you with investors on our Pezesha marketplace who then lend to you based on their risk profile. The matching process takes a couple of minutes to complete and your loan will be automatically funded to your business bank account or business mobile wallet account.
- Fill in the online web application through this link
- What follows is financial education and loan monitoring with our credit team to ensure the SME is using the loan for business purpose and growth of the business and not for personal use.
What's the Eligibility Criteria.
- ● A business should be registered. Ie. Provision of Certificate of Incorporation, business permit
- ● The business must be operating for more than 6 months
- ● Has to have business records ie Financials
- Valid ID of the business owners
- ● Any other information requested during the loan application process
What interest rates do you charge?
The interest rates we charge vary by MSME. We employ a risk based scorecard approach when evaluating businesses where we consider various factors and provide a credit score that is used to determine an appropriate interest rate chargeable to the SME. Our scorecard approach looks at the 5Cs of credit i.e. Capital, Cash flow, Conditions, Character, Compliance.
What is the duration of your SME loans?
Our SME loans go up to KES 1,000,000 and have flexible repayment options of 1-12 months period.
Do you require security or collateral?
This is case by case depending on the risk of the business and loan amount. In most cases, if the SME has provided sufficient and accurate information during the loan application process, it should be sufficient to assess their loan eligibility. If we do require any form of security then our team will be in touch with you.
Is it Possible to get an SME loan if I am an existing consumer Borrower?
Anyone with a business can apply for a business loan including an existing consumer borrower. That said, you are required to fully repay your previous Pezesha loans in order to be eligible for a business loan. Your business must also be operating for at least 6 months to qualify for a business loan.
What are the consequences of defaulting or being late on paying my business Loan?
We encourage early repayments as this builds your credit score and helps the SME qualify for a higher business loan. We also offer discounts on early repayment.If the entire loan obligation is paid early, we will provide a refund of the interest amount for every month paid early (subject to a minimum of 2 months' interest payable). If you foresee any delays in paying your loan instalments, you need to contact us and put in writing within 7 days. Failure to contact us to inform us you will be late, we will take immediate action in relation to the agreement you have with Pezesha, this could entail, legal action, asset liquidation, blacklisting among other measures.
Will Pezesha remind me about Loan repayments dates before they are due?
Yes. Pezesha sends reminder messages via SMS before and on the due date. We however advise you to also keep your own record of when you are supposed to make your repayments to avoid late payments and Penalties.
How do I repay my loan?
You can repay your loan through M-pesa with a business number of 898927 your account number is usually written out in the loan agreement but more than often it is the ID number given by the SME owner. One Can also pay through the our bank account which is usually provided in the loan agreement. Please contact us via email@example.com for bank details
How can I contact Pezesha?
Please write to us through our email firstname.lastname@example.org. In case of any SME financing queries.
What measures are we taking for SMEs during COVID-19?
As a company it's our duty to inquire about their business and how they have been affected by the pandemic,whether they have shut down and are out of operation for the time being or still in operation. Some of the measures taken to support our SMEs during this period are:
- 1. We come up with a different repayment schedule from the regular one for individual SMEs depending on the impact the business has suffered factoring the ability to repay.
- 2. Analyze each business in accordance to the sector that it falls under and generate a
- 3. We are continuing to lend to businesses during this period.
- 4. We are supporting businesses by offering a free financial education platform to equip businesses with the right financial knowledge to effectively manage your business, credit score, ensure profitability and business continuity.
What other value add do you offer SMEs?
Apart from offering access to finance, we offer financial education as a tool to guide and help the business to expound on their knowledge in matters related to management of finances. We also offer credit scoring, we then recommend SMEs with easy to use mobility tools that will track your business operations, credit sales, giving you full visibility, analytics efficiency and boost your credit score.
Do you finance businesses in certain sectors or across all sectors?
Pezesha promotes inclusion and therefore we give access to finance to all sectors.
What if I am an SME outside Nairobi, will my business be financed?
Yes. We provide financing to all businesses in all parts of the country.
If I want to check the status of my loan balance and report where do I go?
Immediately an SME gets funded they receive a message with the amount Funded, the total amount to repay the monthly installment amount as well as day the first installment is due.. Whenever you make a repayment towards clearing your loan you get an automatic sms indicating the amount repaid and the balance remaining. We also send a reminder SMS 2 days before the installment is due stating the amount and payment details. Incase you want to report back to us you can write to us via our email address email@example.com
What if I don't get financing after submitting all my documents required by Pezesha?
We ensure a transparent and interactive communication with SMEs. The submitted documents provide both financial and business data to access the SMEs risk profile and loan limit. If you are not eligible to get a loan Pezesha gets in touch with you to explain the reason and guides you on ways to build a better credit score through our financial education platform. Please note that we keep in touch with the SME once they fill the gap and are eligible for funding we proceed to support the business
Will my business information be shared to the investors who lend to me?
Pezesha does not divulge any business information given or shared by its borrowers as it is considered confidential. The investors only have access to know which business they have lent a certain amount to.
Will you communicate to me if I get rejected in the loan application process?
After your application for a business loan is successful you will automatically receive a confirmation email,then the evaluation process begins which takes 2-5 business days after which when the business rules disqualify you then an email is sent out informing you the reason for the rejection of the application.
What is Pezesha?
Pezesha’s name comes from the two acronyms Pesa and Wezesha to mean Financial Empowerment in Swahili. We are all about Kenyans empowering other fellow Kenyans. We provide a holistic trusted financial crowdfunding infrastructure that connects investors to quality MSMEs.
Who is a investor on Pezesha platform?
Anyone who lends or invests their money directly to borrowers matched by Pezesha and takes the full risk. Pezesha is just a trusted intermediary who ensures risk mitigation for investors or investors on the platform.
What makes Pezesha different from other alternative and retail financial institutions?
- Risk Minimization: Pezesha has deployed a robust proprietary credit scoring infrastructure ( patascore ), capable of processing conventional and unconventional data in order to identify credible underserved borrowers. The ability to identify these credible borrowers who typically do not have any collateral helps to minimize the risk that investors on our platform stand to face.
- Maximization of Returns allowing for a new asset class: Pezesha is structured in a way whereby the investors receive their full income without incurring any operational costs which are involved in facilitating the loans. This is achievable because Pezesha uses a crowdfunding structure thereby ensuring that investors get maximum returns whilst we deal with the basic expenses.
What are the benefits of being an investor on Pezesha?
- ● Solid returns of targeted 10%-15% per year compounded Annual Rate, compared to fixed deposits in banks and savings options of 3-7% per year.
- ● Ability to choose your portfolio structure and preference based on your risk appetite
- ● Be part of a movement creating social and economic impact
Give an example/scenario of how Pezesha works
Mary needs Ksh. 5,000 ($50) to buy weekly stock for her small kiosk in a low income neighbourhood in Nairobi. She does not have the cash available to buy her products and therefore has to temporarily close, despite knowing she would have Ksh. 10,000 in a month’s time from her revenues.
Through our mobile platform, Mary requests a loan from Pezesha, who conduct an automated credit score in 30 seconds through robust verified data sources, and then sources the amount from Kenyans with idle/spare capital.
Through Pezesha’s matching algorithms, Mary is then automatically matched with multiple investors to fund her working capital needs in a matter of minutes. If let's say the interest rate for the $50 is 4% per month ($2) interest return, the investor who has lent to Mary will get 80% of the interest return and Pezesha will get 20% of the interest return as facilitation fees once the loan is fully repaid. Pezesha’s job is to ensure the loan is fully repaid as part of their facilitation fees earnings. Meaning if Pezesha does not collect then they do not earn any returns as well.
Mary can then grow her business, and improve her credit rating, paying back with mobile money.
How do I top up and withdraw funds on the Pezesha platform?
Pezesha works by investors topping up to a mobile wallet or a dedicated bank account linked to your Pezesha wallet. Top up is done either through M-Pesa Paybill 898927 and use your National ID Number as account number. If using the bank option, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to avail the bank details.
Option 2 for local investors based in Kenya - Go to the top-up tab then enter the amount to credit. Once you click on top-up, an MPESA request pop-up will appear on your screen. Proceed to Answer with 0 to create a PIN for your transaction. Top-up your chosen amount from your M-pesa.
. What is the process of becoming a investor on Pezesha?
For individuals, please see the lending page for full details. From here you can also download the app from the Google Play store. If using an APPLE IOS then please use our mobile web version in this link https://app.pezesha.com/auth/login
For institutions please complete the form at the bottom of our institutions page.
What is the minimum and maximum amount I can deposit?
Depends on your risk appetite. We recommend you start with a minimum of $30 (Kshs 3,000) to diversify your portfolio and minimize risk. We advise investors to invest pragmatically in order to minimise risk and top up as they grow their returns.
Will you always be taking in new Investors?
Not always. When we have more supply of investors than we require, we reserve the right to stop the acceptance of new investors into our platform for a period of time. In such a case, we will notify new investors when we have the necessary demand again.
What is the repayment process?
When a borrower repays their loan, a credit will be made on your Pezesha wallet, which you can further use to fund other Kenyan businesses within the Pezesha platform, or withdraw from your account.
We encourage you to recycle your repaid amounts instead of withdrawing the funds as the compounding effect will maximize your returns.
Please note that there is a Ksh. 50 ($0.5) withdrawal fee charged when you withdraw.
What kind of returns could I make?
The returns you can expect depend on the portfolio strategy you decide on. We have 3 risk buckets:
- Conservative: Average Annual Returns 15-20% targeted (inclusive of tax), Investment split in favour of low risk products (Only SME option).
- Balanced: Average Annual Returns 10-15% targeted (inclusive of tax), Investment split evenly across all products (SME and consumer low risk option)
- Aggressive: Average Annual Returns, 20-25% targeted (inclusive of tax), Investment split in favour of high risk products (only consumer lending, loans for 30 days period)
What are the risks involved?
Please note, investors bear the full risk if a loan is not repaid, fully or partially. Pezesha is not lending your money, you are. That said, it is our job at Pezesha to make sure that we stringently assess all borrowers before they are eligible for loans, thereby reducing risk and in turn offering stable investor returns. We advocate for a prudent risk policy that involves:
- Pre-screening: Before on-boarding a borrower, we conduct thorough checks to determine their capacity to pay. Using our credit-scoring model ((https://www.patascore.com/home) , we establish the borrower’s credit score and reference third party information from Credit Reference Bureaus.
- Diversification: We put your eggs in many baskets! The Pezesha platform spreads your risk by lending your funds across multiple borrowers.
- Prudent collection methods: through automated SMS reminders to customers before and when they are due including having call touchpoints through our in house customer care team to remind them to make their payments.
Please read our investor Terms & Conditions before signing up as a investor. If you have any questions about it please contact us directly.
How do you assess whether a borrower is creditworthy or not?
Pezesha uses a number of processes to ensure that we approve borrowers who are likely to repay their loans. This creditworthiness evaluation is done in real time by the following means:
- CRB (Credit Bureau) previous credit history to know in seconds whether a borrower has failed to repay previous loans to any other Kenyan financial institutions in the past
- Verified and robust data that we access directly from mobile operators’ APIs with borrowers’ consent (for example their mobile money statements). This data enables us to get a very detailed view of their incomings and outgoings, which in turn allows us to determine whether a borrower has the financial capacity to repay your loan.
- Strategic partners/trustees provide us with 12 months consistent stock and automated business transactions of the micro business they work with.
- Over time with initial repayment data we are also able to predict their long term repayment behaviour through our machine learning algorithms
- Our customer KYC process is thorough, including checks and balances such as checking with third party credit databases for any fraud or illegal track record.
How do you ensure consumer protection?
We do this through 2 primary methods: Education and Borrower profiling.
1.Education We understand that the character of a borrower is a key factor in whether they will meet his/her loan obligation. To this end, we spend considerable time in educating the borrower as a means of positively influencing their character.
Our loan process starts with education and creating self-financial awareness to the low income borrowers. This is followed by a clear explanation of the terms and conditions of the loan, in a language that is conversant to the borrower, and information on how the ability of the borrower to diligently abide by these terms helps them to improve their credit history performance, and to ultimately connect them to the formal financial system.
Additionally, this education helps us to build a loyal relationship with our customers and understand their needs better. The credit we facilitate is built on responsible financing - transparency and trust to the investors by giving them sufficient information about the borrowers’ risk profiles and use of funds.
We have closely followed guidelines by FSD Kenya on to how to ensure high levels of consumer protection in what we do.
Importantly, time is taken to explain to the borrowers what the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) is, and to introduce them to the concept and consequences of “blacklisting”.
In summary, we ensure that the borrowers understand the terms of the loan agreement before proceeding to the loan application process. This includes understanding:
- the foreseeability of harm or consequences including blacklisting if they fail to repay the loan on time;
- the use of the loan in line with moral and ethical principles
- the extent of the burden and consequences if the other members in their group or community do not pay back on time.
- the cost, availability and risks involved.
2. Borrower profiling: Importantly, our goal is to be sustainable in the long term, and we know that this will only be possible by ensuring that the majority of our borrowers have the capacity to pay back the micro loans they are given.
Our profiling helps us to understand the borrowers better and as such, we take guardianship seriously, and are careful not to overextend the amount of credit to an individual until the borrower has proven that they have the ability to generate the necessary payments and thus not fall into a debt trap.
This is governed by our duty of care that involves the signing of a legally binding contract and a digital consent acceptance form on our terms with each borrower.
How do you mitigate the risk of default?
Our credit scoring evolves continuously. It increasingly grows in robustness for the purposes of intelligently assessing creditworthy borrowers and automatically rejecting the ones below the threshold. This significantly reduces default risk and increases returns for investors.
Our credit scoring model helps us to identify borrowers at risk of overextending their debt by spotting irregular patterns in the data obtained from them. This is done through complex data analytics which takes into context the Kenyan financial environment, and this is a core tenant of our credit scoring model.
Our exceptionally talented team has built successful credit scoring models in Africa before. They have designed the scoring system to scale with our growth and allow us to closely monitor the performance of our loans. This allows us to better assess our new borrowers in order to tailor our offering to them, and to allow investors to choose a risk portfolio which best suits them.
Does Pezesha Invest its own Funds?
Yes. Our investment strengthens our “skin in the game” in understanding and learning from our own data, risks and consumer behaviour, as well as patterns to reduce the risk of bad debts.
Pezesha will continue to invest alongside other investprs on the platform as this also helps us to maximize our returns in the short and long term. We walk the talk: Pezesha invests its own money on the platform to also demonstrate our confidence in our credit scoring model and also to gauge borrower behavior in terms of repayment and default so as to further enhance our credit scoring model.
What do you do to ensure a loan is repaid on time? What do you do if a loan is not repaid on time or when it defaults (we define default as past day 90)?
We have implemented an effective recovery policy. We make the best effort to recover investors’ investment.
We send frequent SMS reminders and calls to borrowers on their loan repayment schedule - from day 1 to day 30. If they are late, we send them automated follow up SMS reminders. Furthermore, we work closely with community champions to assist in the collection process. We then do a follow up call and SMS 30 days in advance before a borrower defaults on their repayment and before we blacklist in CRBs.
We ensure the external collection agency practices align with our values, approach and reporting policies through our monthly reviews and weekly communication and reporting. This is achieved through brainstorming cost effective and fair sanctions that include giving the borrowers choices of restructuring their debt while ensuring that they are not incentivized to restructure when they could otherwise repay on time. After day 120, we then write off the loan.
In the event that a repayment goes past its term, the borrower incurs reasonable daily flat charges to encourage them to quickly settle their balance. The penalty interest will be included in the investor’s return
Can I withdraw money from a loan that I have made before it has been repaid?
When funds are committed to a loan that has been disbursed, the money is with the borrower and cannot be reclaimed until it is repaid. When the borrower begins making repayments, these earnings are transferred back to your Pezesha account. Once the funds are in your Pezesha account, you can withdraw the funds at your convenience though we encourage you to re-invest to maximize your long-term returns.
What is the difference between loaning continuously and loaning on full repayment in the investor setting option?
With continuous loaning, if a borrower repays part of a loan then this repayment is automatically immediately reinvested into another loan to another borrower based on your risk preferences and appetite.
With loaning on full repayment, we only reinvest your return once the full repayment has been made by the borrower based on your risk preferences and appetite.
What is the difference between wallet balance and funding balance on the app?
Your wallet balance is the amount which is available for withdrawal at any point in time.
The funding balance is the amount which can be utilized for granting out loans. Typically, both lending balance and funding balance show the same figure for investors who loan continuously from both interest earned and principal repaid.
These two balances will only be different if a investor chooses to lend on full repayment. In this case, the funding balance will be lesser than the wallet balance.
How do I get to know when my borrower has made a repayment?
Under “all loans” in the menu tab, you can see the repayment status and amount paid, and balance for each loan at any given time. You will also be able to download all your loans performance and analyse for yourself at any given time.
Are there any tax implications for me that I need to be aware of when I lend on Pezesha?
Yes. Returns/Revenues that you earn on Pezesha will be considered part of your taxable income in accordance to Kenyan law. Foreigners will also be required to pay taxes. As from the month of June 2017, Pezesha started deducting 15% Withholding Tax for all interest earned by investors on our platform in accordance with Kenya law. This includes all interest on penalties accrued from late borrowers. This is a mandatory requirement by law under paragraph 5 of the third schedule of the income Tax Act. Lenders Wallet balance will be less WHT deductions. You can now see all the WHT from your dashboard on the app and when you click on it you will see the fine details of all loans and their deductions accordingly. Kindly note that we will be issuing you the Withholding Tax Certificate end of the year. That said, we are always flexible to issue it upon request by a lender/investor. In case of any further queries on tax contact us at email@example.com
Who owns Pezesha?
Pezesha is owned and run by a mix of African investors (as the majority investors) and international investors (as the minority investors) who have 10+ years of experience in the credit and business sector. The Pezesha Team is made up of local individuals and local lenders/investors whose aim is to empower other fellow Kenyans, ensuring equal opportunities and financial inclusion for all Kenyans.
I have more questions – does Pezesha have a customer care service?
Yes. Please send us any questions or enquiries that you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond to you as soon as possible.
As a foreigner can I become an investor in Pezesha platform
Yes, as a foreign investor you have two options to lend on Pezesha platform. Either as a return-based investor or as a philanthropic investor. The process is a bit different compared to the way we on board local investors. The terms remain the same as we currently have with our local investors as stated here in the FAQs but the process of topping up to your Pezesha wallet is different. You will be required to first review and sign off our investor terms and conditions agreement which we will send to you upon request. Then we will provide our bank details information for your lending amount disbursement. Then once we as Pezesha receive your funds, we will load them to your wallet less taxes or any charges incurred during the transfer and after creating your account the funds will be topped up to your Pezesha wallet and reflect real-time. Then from there you will be able to have full transparency that we have topped up all your funds, the borrowers you have lent to in line with your preferred portfolio preference setting, their personal details and also their repayment progress from a month to month basis. If you will need more information and reporting, we will always be at your disposal.
What is the process I have to take so as to close my lender/investor account?
Closing your account is as simple as turning it OFF in the investor setting option. This means that as an investor you shall not be lending out your funds however due to the nature of the business, when borrowers make payments they shall reflect in your wallet and you should be able to withdraw the funds into your account. We do not DELETE accounts as we need to keep them for future reference so for now you will need to turn it OFF in order to stop any lending from your account.
I am a borrower and I wish to change my account to an investor
Yes you can create both investor and borrower account on Pezesha platform. Go back to login page, at the bottom choose the account type to create
How do I change my phone number and other personal details?
Please write to email@example.com and we shall be able to make the changes on our end as we do this from our end following various checks in order to reduce any fraud cases for our lenders/investors on the platform.
What are your risk management processes?
CREDIT SCORING SYSTEM: Firstly our credit scoring platform ensures that we are able to select the best borrowers in the market ensuring that even though borrowers are late on payments, they will eventually pay all amounts that they have been issued. We look at over 10,000 data points in deciding whether or not to provide a loan to a borrower.
Our credit scoring model (https://www.patascore.com/home) has gone through 7 iterations and we have seen tremendous improvements over the years and our PAR is lower than 10% compared to the average 30% default rate in the market.
CREDIT OPERATIONS TEAM: Additionally, we have an in house credit operations team that is responsible for borrower communication and collection. They are tasked with engaging with late borrowers every day and setting up a payment plan, which lowers the Portfolio At Risk for the business.
In fact as a business, we communicate with borrowers before their loans are due so that borrowers make partial payments which would increase the PAR exposure. We are here for the long haul so our goal is to ensure a win win for all parties involved.
PARTNERSHIP WITH EXTERNAL PARTNERS We also work with our external debt collection partner so as to ensure that borrowers are being contacted with different parties thereby increasing the likelihood that they pay.
Our external debt collection partners work to the highest of standards and this ensures that borrower conversion is optimized on a month on month basis.
FINANCIAL EDUCATION Finally, we also carry out borrower education before loans are issued. This way borrowers understand the importance of paying loans as the goal is for the borrower to climb up the financial ladder and eventually become investors, thereby empowering other borrowers in the process in the end building their financial health and wealth.
Is lender/investor returns in consumer lending same as in SME lending?
SME lending is conservative option average Annual Returns 15-20% targeted (inclusive of tax), Investment split in favour of low risk products. On the other hand, consumer lending is more of aggressive option average Annual Returns, 20-25% targeted (inclusive of tax), Investment split in favour of high risk products (only consumer lending, loans for 30 days period)
Do I get to pick to whom I lend from a pool of borrowers?
For now, you cannot do this option, but you can set your risk profile and preference which is what we obey when lending then we diversify with our matching algorithm to do the work for you. We plan to introduce this functionality as part of our crowdfunding roadmap
Is Pezesha regulated in Kenya and any other country?
We are currently one of the leading Fintech in Kenya approved under the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya Sandbox, this ensures our platform is tested, proven and ensures risk mitigation for lenders/investors on the platform at the same time consumer protection. Read more here https://pezesha.com/pezesha-among-the-top-3-fintechs-to-be-granted-the-cma-regulatory-sandbox-approval/. Our goal with the regulator is to be transparent, proactive and engage them at all times to ensure we are doing business in accordance with Kenyan law as advised by our capable legal team at all times in the end working with the required laws as they may fit over time.
How is my money secure in the Pezesha wallet?
Not even Pezesha or an employee of Pezesha can withdraw your money as it sits in an escrow account and separate from our business accounts to ensure a full audit trail by our external auditors. We ensure your account is restricted to a unique identification number which is also encrypted in our system to ensure anyone trying to change your details cannot be able do that as what they will see is binary coded information and not the actual details including your personal identification or password. There is more we are doing on the security front beyond encryption and authentication, we will prefer to give the full details when you contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so as to prevent fraudsters from trying to manipulate any ideas or security information we share here.