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What Is USSD And How Does It Work?
USSD stands for unstructured supplementary service data technology that promotes quick and direct communication between user and service provider.
By dialing the asterix symbol * followed by a series of digits finalized by the hash symbol #, a request is sent to the mobile network provider.
Upon receipt of the request, the network provider will match it to an application related to the USSD code.
Once the application is matched, the request will then be forwarded via http to the user thereby granting access to the service provider menu.
Benefits Of USSD
1. No internet connection
3. User friendly
4. Easily accessible
6. Easy to remember
8. Cost effective
Types Of USSD In Kenya
Currently there are two types of USSD in operation. They include;
i. Dedicated USSD: this refers to a ussd code solely assigned to a specific service provider and cannot be used by any other provider. It is useful in instances where there is need for increased customization and is fairly expensive to set up and run compared to shared ussd. e.g *123#
ii. Shared USSD: this refers to a ussd code with shared access across several service providers using various channels. It is more affordable to set up than dedicated ussd. e.g *123*45#
How To Get USSD Code From Safaricom
As previously highlighted, USSD codes are typically assigned by the network service providers which in this case are either Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom etc.
To apply for USSD code from Safaricom, an applicant is required to meet certain requirements and submit the outlined documents below during application.
i.Pin/ VAT certificate
ii.Certificate of incorporation
iii.Application URL for ussd code mapping
iv.Signed page of CSP agreement
v.Copy of payment confirmation
vi.Duly filled USSD code request form & USSD corporate application form
USSD Code Providers In Kenya
Majority of Kenyan businesses who have adopted digital systems rely on ussd codes to offer services to their consumers.Due to its versatility, ussd can be adopted across the various industry fields.
To get updated about emerging USSD loan providers in Kenya, ensure that you join the Kenya mobile loans portal facebook group which discusses all loan app related issues in Kenya including new loan apps, loan related scams, earning money online etc
Below are some of the sectors that have implemented ussd code for service delivery.
Non-Loan USSD Code Providers
Money market is a section of financial markets that deal in short term investments and generally has a low risk profile that results in capital preservation.Currently there are 15+ licensed money market providers in Kenya regulated by the Capital Markets Authority.
Examples of money market ussd codes include; Cytonn *809# , Britam *778# , Old Mutual *480#
Insurance is a form of risk management involving an insurance company and insured whereby the latter pays the former for future compensation to any losses incurred under the contract policy agreement.
Currently, there are 20+ licensed insurance providers in Kenya regulated by the Insurance Regulatory Authority.
Examples of insurance provider ussd codes include; AKI *352# , Bima Tap *487# , Resolution *271#
Pension schemes are savings pools for when one attains retirement age. Currently there exists 20+ pension providers in Kenya regulated by the Retirement Benefits Authority.
Examples of pension providers ussd codes include; NSSF *303# , Zamara *483*123#Other notable USSD code providers include; NHIF *155#, Covid helpline *719#, Nairobi Water *888#, Nairobi County Services *235# , Kplc *977# , Helb *642# , CRB *433# , Ufaa *361# etc
USSD Loans To M-Pesa
USSD loans are digital loans that do not require any app installations in order to access loans via mobile phone. Instead, borrowers use network service codes provided by the digital lenders.Below are some of the ussd loan codes provided by different lenders in various sectors.
Network Service Providers
Depending on a network provider, there are various credit facilities launched in partnership with finance institutions to provide short-term loans to subscribers. Examples of network provider ussd loan codes include;
Safaricom (Mshwari) *334#
Safaricom (Halal Pesa) *334#
Safaricom/ Airtel/T-Kash (Hustler fund) *254#
Majority of Kenyan banks provide mobile banking platforms whereby customers can access a wide variety of products/services including loans. Examples of commercial bank ussd loan code providers include;
|Co-op (MCoop cash)||*667#|
|HFC (Hf whizz)||*618#|
|Equity (Eazzy loan)||*247#|
|DTB (DTB Weza)||*385#|
|Family (Pesa Pap)||*325#|
|Bank Of Africa||*987#|
|Dubai Islamic Bank||*278#|
|First Community Bank||*342#|
|Guaranty Trust Bank||*878#|
|National Bank Of Kenya||*625#|
|Spire (formerly Equitorial)||*286#|
|Access Bank (formerly Transnational)||*862#|
Microfinance institutions cater to the self-employed or low income groups who cannot be accommodated by commercial banks. Currently, there are 14+ licensed microfinance institutions regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to offer various credit facilities.
Examples of Microfinance bank ussd loan code providers include;
|Microfinance Bank||USSD Code|
|Faulu (Pesa ChapChap)||*339#|
|Maisha (Mfanisi)||*222# (Airtel) and *281# (Safaricom)|
|Key (formerly Remu)||*356#|
These are financial institutions that only offer credit facilities unlike commercial and microfinance banks which also provide deposits and savings services. Examples of credit-only ussd loan code providers include;
|Credit-Only Institution||USSD Code|
|Premier credit (CashXpress)||*241#|
|Platinum credit (Wezesha Express)||*619#|
Saccos are generally savings & credit institutions consisting of various memberships with the aim of pooling funds together for affordable loans purposes. In Kenya, there are 200+ licensed saccos spanning different economic sectors including religion, law, transport etc that offer various products and services to their members.
Therefore for efficiency in service delivery, there are several saccos that have adopted ussd digital platforms to provide various functions such as; balance/mini statement inquiry, deposits & withdrawals, PIN changes as well as loan applications.
Examples of sacco loan ussd code providers include;
|Waumini (Waumini Cash)||*346#|
|Safaricom (Kona/Rununu Advance)||*345#|
|Invest & Grow (Pesa Pepe)||*879#|
|Kenya Police (M-Tawi)||*653#|
|Defence (Okoa Cash)||*515#|
|Ardhi (Pesa Pepe)||*879#|
|Jamii (Jamii M-Cash||*879#|
Digital Credit Providers
These are digital lenders who provide short term emergency loans via options of apps or ussd. Examples of digital lender ussd code providers include;
|Digital Credit Provider||USSD Code|
|Change Agents (formerly Okolea)||*842#|
Categories: Loan Articles
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