VisionFund is the latest microfinance organisation to join the cashless
banking market. Its clients in Arusha, Tanzania can now receive and pay loans
direct from their mobile phones through a the recently developed programme
known locally as VFT chap chap (meaning quick quick).
Indeed, the aim of the initiative is to ‘speed up’ loan applications, open
up banking to more people in rural areas, and double the ratio of clients per
loan officer once the full project has been rolled out.
According to Women’s World Banking, 3 billion people in the world do not
have access to affordable, reliable financial products, but 1.7 billion have
mobile phones. By allowing clients to access their M-wallet – the use of mobile
phones to send and receive money - VFT chap chap means clients no longer
have to travel to a branch to receive or pay back a loan, saving them both the
time and money.
VisionFund Tanzania is currently rolling out the first of three phases of
its mobile banking programme in Arusha, before initiating it in other branches.
And a loan officer software app is currently being developed for phase two of
the project. When complete, a loan officer will be able to use his or her iPad
and ‘app’ to process new loan and savings applications from start to finish.
Fingerprinting technology will be used to access and recall client data on
existing loans. This will save the MFI costs by increasing productivity of a
loan officer and reducing costs in branch.
The third and final stage will allow the MFI to collate and analyse data
around its clients and loans, to better understand its microfinance market, and
the social impact it is having in rural areas of the country. This data will be
used to develop new products according to market needs.
quarters of the Tanzanian population live in rural areas, but only 8% have
access to financial services. VFT chap chap will give more people access
to essential banking needs, allowing them to grow businesses and livelihoods to
support their family.