With the number of unbanked Nigerian adults estimated at 60 million in 2021, the majority of the estimated 40 million who have bank accounts are still underbanked as they lack access to credit and other financial services. This is why fintech and loan applications are warmly welcomed by millions of Nigerians.
With the provision of collateral-free fast loans, loan apps are bridging the financial inclusion gap left by traditional banks in Nigeria.
Although there have been complaints that the interest rates charged by some of them are too high, this has not stopped many Nigerians from patronizing them. In fact, based on the number of downloads of these apps, some of the digital lending platforms now have more customers on their apps than the big traditional banks in the country.
Although there are now tons of loan apps providing credit services in Nigeria, including those authorized by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and those unlicensed otherwise known as loan sharks, all continue to enjoy patronage as they cater to the financial needs of many Nigerians.
Nairametrics looks at the download figures for these apps on the Google Play Store, which gives a good idea of which apps are primarily used by Nigerians. Here are the top 5 lending apps that surpassed 5 million downloads on the Google Play Store at the end of Q3 2022:
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Branch is a platform that offers fast online loans in Nigeria. As of Q3 2022, this app is the most downloaded loan app in Nigeria which has crossed 10 million downloads on Google Play Store.
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The app determines loan eligibility and personalized loan offers using users’ smartphone data. Their interest rates range from 15% to 34%. You can access loans from N1,000 to N200,000 in 24 hours, depending on your repayment history, with a repayment period of 4 to 40 weeks.
All you need to apply is your phone number or Facebook account, bank verification number (BVN), and bank account number. They will also request access to your phone data in order to establish your credit score.
Palmcredit lags far behind Branch in terms of downloads, yet it is one of the most popular lending apps in Nigeria. The lending platform says it can provide a quick loan up to N300,000 in less than 3 minutes without any form of collateral. You can borrow between N2,000 and N300,000 and if your documents are complete and correct, you can get your disbursement within one business day, depending on the platform. The app was downloaded over 5 million times on the Google Play Store in Q3 2022.
FairMoney says it offers quick loans in 5 minutes with no documentation or collateral required. Loan amounts vary depending on your smartphone data and repayment history. Loan amounts vary between N1,500 and N500,000 with repayment periods of 61 days to 180 days at monthly interest rates ranging from 10% to 30%. The app is undoubtedly one of the most used by Nigerians as it has also been downloaded 5 million times and still counting.
Okash (1 million downloads) now 5 million
Okash is a fast and convenient online lending platform for Nigerian mobile users operated by Blue Ridge Microfinance Bank Limited. OKash caters to customers’ financial needs fully online 24/7. The application process takes only a few steps with minimal documentation and the approved loan amount is transferred to the applicant’s bank account. The app offers loans ranging from N3,000 to N500,000 and a repayment plan ranging from 91 days to 365 days.
The app is one of the most downloaded lending apps on the Play Store as it had crossed 5 million downloads in Q3 2022.
Palmpay is an automated lending service focused on improving access to credit for financially underserved/excluded people in Africa. Launched in Nigeria in 2019, the company claims to have provided over 5,000,000 customers with convenient and affordable digital payments.
The company also claims that loan decisions on its app are provided within 15 seconds and if approved, the applicant receives the funds within 5 minutes 24/7. On the app, the usual amount for new borrowers is N10,000.
This app is one of the most downloaded loan apps in Nigeria. By the end of the third quarter, it had over 5 million downloads to be among the top 5 with such a record.