Menyesha, literally “Inform Me” in Kinyarwanda, represents a leap forward in the way this historically underserved – but rapidly digitising – population can interact with lenders and other financial service providers. Using SMS and USSD-based technologies to navigate around relatively poor rates of smartphone penetration in the country.
Menyesha offers consumers the ability to check their credit score in real time and better understand their credit status, as well as the ability to clear negative credit statuses on a user-friendly interface. TransUnion will offer this service through telecommunication companies, starting with MTN, Rwanda to ensure digital experience without the need for a smartphone.
“Menyesha addresses the main issues standing in the way of Rwandans who want to make use of digital services to improve their credit health,” said Aimable Nkuranga, Country Manager at TransUnion. “As one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most digitally forward countries, Rwanda has much to gain by using financial technologies like Menyesha to leapfrog traditional banking systems previously characterised by high exclusion, delivering financial services conveniently and affordably to all levels of society”.
The app serves as a convenient meeting place for consumers and lenders, to the benefit of both. Lenders are able to open their product offering to more consumers, who would otherwise struggle to utilise credit due to negative credit profile or a lack of credit history. At the same time, improving access to financial services allows Rwandan families to better control their financial health and invest in their futures through various projects.
“Access to credit enables small businesses to expand, creating employment opportunities, reducing inequality and providing much-needed stimulation for the Rwandan economy at large,” continued Nkuranga.
In addition to better understanding their credit situations, Menyesha enables consumers to know the amount of debt outstanding at any particular time. Menyesha can support transactions to various lenders and financial institutions directly, immediately, and using only their mobile devices. Payments related to Menyesha will be completed via mobile money.
The range of functionality that Menyesha offers allows a faster and much more efficient way for consumers to become credit ready in preparation for loan applications, clearing their debts and obtaining vital credit clearance certificates through a single digital solution.
With less than 30% of Rwanda’s population possessing formal bank accounts, Menyesha is just the solution needed to reach the credit-shy “thin-file” segment, as well as those vast sections of the country’s population who live in rural areas without access to brick-and-mortar banking and financial services facilities.
Rwanda aims to become a digital leader on the continent by the year 2020, with ICT-driven information and communication technologies at the core of this transformation, and innovations like Menyesha critical in helping to achieve this goal.