MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: South Africa’s Jumo Launches Microcredit Borrower Assessment Technology Based on Mobile Telephone Usage Data

Jumo, the microfinance unit and “mobile money marketplace”[2] of AFB, a financial services company based in Cape Town, South Africa, recently launched a new borrower assessment service in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Jumo’s credit assessment method is based on individuals’ mobile telephone usage data including calling records, airtime usage, data purchases and mobile money transactions.

Johan Bosini, Jumo’s managing director, said that “we make credit decisions based entirely on mobile network data. How many calls you make, who are you calling, when you’re calling, how much airtime are you using, where are you topping up, what kind of phone you have, whether you SMS [send text messages] or not. We have 10,000 variables for any individual”[1].

Jumo focuses on microentrepreneurs, who wish to raise “as little as a few dollars”[1] to support their small business ventures. One goal of this borrower assessment method is to reduce expenses related to microcredit by keeping costs low.

As of 2015, Jumo has 3.5 million users. AFB has 250,000 customers in Ghana and Kenya although customer numbers in Mauritius and South Africa are not available. The organization has approximately 450 retail partners in unspecified locations. Financial information on the entities is unavailable.

By Alíz Crowley, Research Associate

About AFB

AFB is a financial services company that is based in Cape Town, South Africa. The organization offers credit products to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individuals in sub-Saharan Africa. These products are offered in partnership with various mobile network operators. As of 2015, the organization has offices in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius and South Africa. It has 250,000 customers in Ghana and Kenya although customer numbers in Mauritius and South Africa are not available. The organization has approximately 450 retail partners in unspecified locations. Financial information on the organization is unavailable.

About Jumo

Jumo is the “mobile money marketplace” of South-Africa-based financial services company AFB. Jumo, which was founded in 2014, specializes in mobile phone data analytics for the microfinance sector in Africa. The organization is active in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Jumo operates a credit assessment method that is based on mobile telephone usage data including calling records, airtime usage, data purchases and mobile transactions. As of 2015, Jumo has 3.5 million users. Financial information on the organization is unavailable.

Sources and Additional Resources

[1] Independent.ie, In Africa, to secure a loan you now hand over your phone for a high tech financial health check

[2] Jumo, Website

[3] LinkedIn, Jumo.World

[4] AFB, Website

MicroCapital Universe Profile: Jumo

MicroCapital Universe Profile: AFB

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