Amidst the growing interest in personal finance apps since the Covid-19 pandemic, loan apps may have received the highest reception in Nigeria. The economic hardship and lingering inflation in the country put a lot of citizens in financial distress. In a country where the minimum wage is set at 30000 NGN/Month (65.155 USD/Month, a lot of people still earn less for menial jobs. Those who earn more, may not have a lot of purchasing power for their goals in the presence of inflation.
The covid-19 lockdown put the majority in positions of slow business or no means to go out and earn as usual. Loans make it possible for individuals or businesses to invest, purchase assets, make renovations, consolidate debts, and sponsor profit-making plans for business ventures. Loan apps in Nigeria made it easy to get loans with processes that take a few steps before a loan is granted, in minutes. It is no wonder why lots of loan apps noted an increase in downloads and frequent usage.
A 2021 report by AppsFlyer dubbed "State of Finance App Marketing Report" revealed that during the pandemic, the conversion rate in Sub-Saharan Africa from the installation of finance apps to registration increased significantly, but loan apps had the highest. They noted that loan apps had a 69 percent conversation rate, much higher than investment apps with 25 percent and financial services with 19 percent.
A popular loan app during the Covid-19 pandemic, Okash (a subsidiary of Opay), included a lot of incentives in their loan scheme. They required no collateral, coupled with a quick verification process. Only bio registration, linking a working debit card, and adding the contact details of two guarantors were enough to grant a small loan. At the time, the interest rate was low, and the payback time was at least one week. When a user meets the repayment, Okash would increase the next amount that could be approved for a loan. A process as simple as that, to be granted a loan, drew in a lot of users. Many other loan apps follow similar procedures. Existing loan apps became very popular in Nigeria between 2019 and 2020 (the covid-19 pandemic period) and as of 2023, more have joined the pool of digital financial services.
Discover the best personal finance loan apps for Nigerians in 2023, highly regarded based on user reviews, app store ratings, and download numbers.
FairMoney is a leading lending app with one of the highest downloads in Nigeria. They offer quick loans and are reported to grant applications in about 5 minutes. Asides from personal loans, Fair money has SME loans for businesses. For individuals, the loan offer is up to ₦1,000,000, while their SME loans run up to N5,000,000.
Their APR (Annual Percentage Rate) ranges from 30% to 260%, or a monthly interest rate of 2.5 per cent to 30 per cent. Fairmoney loans require as little as smartphone data and good credit history to be granted, but no paperwork or collaterals. Loan amounts are credited to any bank in Nigeria for the applicant. Their payback terms range from 61 days to 18 months.
With a record of completing loan disbursement within five minutes, the Fairmoney app has over 10M downloads and over 562,000 reviews has earned them a 4.3-star rating on the Google Play store.
Carbon, formerly known as Paylater, is a loan financing app established by Carbon Finance & Investments Ltd. They are one of the loan apps that offer up ₦1,000,000 to Nigerians without guarantors or paperwork.
Their app also allows customers to buy needed commodities and pay them back in installments. An initial deposit of 25% of the product price is required before the purchase can go through, and their repayment period is from 3 – 6 months.
Applicants who pay off their loans in good time are eligible for cashback on the interest they pay, and they gain access to larger loan amounts and cheaper interest rates. They have a 4.4-star rating from over 141,000 reviews and more than 1 million downloads.
The Branch instant loan app is currently the first best loan app in Nigeria with a 4.5-star rating from over 948,000 reviews. Branch offers a 1.5% to 20% monthly interest, one of the most competitive rates. Their app's APR (Annual Percentage Rate) of 18% to 26% is considerably lower than that of Fairmoney, Carbon, Palmcredit, and other competitors.
Branch provides loans ranging from 2,000 to 500,000 NGN for 4 to 52 weeks. Larger loan amounts are unlocked as you repay previous loans. Like other loan apps Branch requests full approval of consumers to analyze smartphone data for determining eligibility. No late or rollover fees apply, and collateral is not required. They have over 10 million downloads on the Google Play store.
4. Palm credit
Palm credit is owned by NewEdge Finance Ltd. Their interest rates range from 5–28% at an annualized rate of between 24.5–56%. They do not require collateral or documentation but don't offer beyond ₦100,000 cash loan, and ₦300,000 installment loan.
Loans are expected to be paid between 91 days to 365 days after it granted. Palm credit has over 5 million downloads and a 3.7-star rating from over 147,000 reviews. PalmCredit does not impose hidden fees, rollover fees, or transaction costs.
Renmoney offers fast and seamless registration to access loans, requiring only a bank statement, government ID, and utility bill. They typically offer loans of up to ₦6,000,000 and a repayment period of up to 730 days. With a rating of 3.7 stars from over 11000 reviews, RenMoney loans are on the come up as a reliable app for Nigerians. They have over 500,000 downloads.
This is another loan app suitable for Nigerians offering up to N1 million to applicants. There are no hidden fees or requests for collateral. The app has over 1Million downloads and a 3.2-star rating from over 33,000 reviews.
Aella loan app's interest rates range from 5% to 30% and the repayment period is 1 to 3 months. This range depends on the borrower's financial history. An added incentive is that, in exchange for timely loan repayment, applicants will get cash back on the interest paid.
Easemoni is an instant personal cash loan app in Nigeria licensed by CBN, it is owned by Blue Ridge Microfinance Bank Limited. Applicants can loan amounts from N3000 - N1,000,000 with no collateral and their interest rate is as low as 5% - 10% per month. Their policy requires repayment from 91 days to 365 days from the date of disbursal.
EasiMoni has 4.4-star rating from over 157,000 reviews and more than 1 million downloads on the Google Play store.