The unforeseen consequences of the Safaricom Fuliza overdraft
A couple of weeks ago, the telecommunications company Safaricom had an overdraft called it. Approved Fuliza. Due to the broad reach and strong marketing power of the mobile operator, the product has been adopted by many (we don’t have a number yet, but it is likely that it will attract millions of dollars in current users 1 million people in the first week) and has given M-PESA users access to services (PayBill, send money and buy goods) when they run out of e-money. To date, the product that Safaricom insists on is not a credit facility (well, users cannot overdraw the money on their wallets unless they send the money to another party and run one Exchange by) billions of shillings in payouts.
Fuliza’s bells and whistles have unfortunately been plagued by unforeseen consequences for people who regularly use M-PESA services (but doesn’t everyone use the mobile money product on a daily basis?), A development where users have taken drastic measures to ensure that all funds are received running through their M-PESA wallets are not used to regularize the facility. Would the measures have been circumvented by using other services, such as taking out a loan from a friend? For sure. But at what price due to the fact that people just Use Fuliza when other options are impractical? Well let’s dig in.
M-PESA recipients will issue warnings before receiving funds
You and I or someone close to us once warned that their M-PESA wallet contains Fuliza and cannot receive funds intended for a specific task / project / payment. Let’s put this frankly because the frequency with which these warnings are being issued is increasing day by day and doesn’t seem to be slowing down as more people learn about Fuliza and our inherent addiction to services similar to online credit. The result? Well the perpetrators use their neighbors’ devices to get money and where the person next to you has a Fuliza ‘loan’ …
People buy new SIM cards
This may not be that common, but I know a few people who own two or more SIM cards, or have bought another one to bypass the Fuliza regularization network. The purchase is obviously necessary to avoid reimbursement of your Fuliza expenses due to other more pressing matters. Understandably, these games of hide and seek are inevitable because, unlike credit services, any money sent / deposited in your overdrawn wallet will be normalized by Fuliza (if it is less than the overdrawn amount) or paid out in full plus the interest. This was done on purpose to Fuliza. to qualify ‘no loan’ Product; Loans are flexible because you can pay them at the time agreed by the lender, saving you online microloans offered by companies like Equity Bank which are serviced as soon as you add funds to your account (without you authorizing the payments ).
People are dusting their secondary mobile money services (T-Kash, Airtel Money, PesaLink, Equitel)
Maybe you didn’t refer your mobile money services to T-Kash or Equitel or Airtel Money, but I know I did because your money really wasn’t ready to pay its debt to Fuliza for obvious reasons. For example, T-Kash coexists with M-PESA; the products charge the same fees for multiplatform transactions, which is convenient for recipients who are aware of the transaction fees involved.
Can this development increase sales of other mobile money products? Probably not, but Fuliza’s limitations have forced some people to explore other solutions. We’re not sure if Safaricom’s revenue from Fuliza will surpass the “negligible” exodus to competing mobile money services to drive telecom companies to oppose the adoption of a structured payment model.
Funds improperly transferred to overdrawn accounts will not be reversed
It is worth noting that once an M-PESA account is replenished with funds, Fuliza will be regularized. This means that should you send money to an incorrect number (which has been overdrawn), you will not be able to get those funds back unless the recipient clears the facility and hopefully refunds the money wrongly sent. However, this does not resolve the inconvenience it contains and in some cases recipients may vanish into thin air and nothing you can do about it unless you involve the police.
Fortunately, the existence of Hakikisha should massively reduce the likelihood of sending money to an unintended recipient, so there is.
Nobody can advise you not to use Fuliza as it is useful in most cases to resolve emergencies. However, we must be wary of the unforeseen consequences that can limit your ability to use mobile money services. If you can submit the overdraft on time, then you can help yourself. In contrast, you may have to think twice before Fulizaing because not paying comes with a much higher cost.