The Hustler Fund finally went live this week. President William Ruto launched the digital financial initiative on November 30th which saw Kenyans borrow an average of Sh17 million an hour on its first day.
The Hustler Fund seeks to provide loans to small businesses in the country that have always struggled to access financing from local banks. It is designed to improve financial access to responsible finance for personal, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The fund is a creation of the draft Public Finance Management (Financial Inclusion Fund) Regulations, 2022 and was president Ruto’s key promise during the campaigns.
There Hustler Fund has been divided into four products These include: Personal Finance – (KSh 500 to KSh. 50,000 depending on your scoring), Micro Loans, SME Loans and Startup
The first instalment of this fund is the Personal Finance product, which is what the president launched on November 30.
How and who can apply for the Hustler Fund?
You can access the Hustler fund through the USSD and mobile APP platforms of any of the Mobile Network Operators in Kenya. Simply dial *254# from any network. Important to note that this USSD is zero-rated with no charges. For Safaricom customers, you can also use the M-Pesa App, under Growth Tab to apply. You also need to make sure you have a mobile money account with the provider you used to apply for the fund.
Once you dial the USSD, you will be prompted to choose a loan product. Select your preferred product and this will give you your loan-allocated limit. Select the amount you want to borrow, enter your mobile money PIN and confirm the request.
Important to also note that entering your M-Pesa PIN number for example doesn’t mean you’re giving a third-party access to your Mobile Money wallet. The PIN is required to authenticate the owner of the wallet where the loan will be disbursed. All data privacy rules are applied and the PIN is not shared with anyone. This is an important point to note because there have been privacy concerns over this, especially with a number of Safaricom customers who have tried applying for the fund.
There are also no transaction charges when receiving the loan in your mobile wallet or even when you repay the loan.
Interest rates repayments and other concerns
The interest rates for the Hustler Fund are capped at 8% per annum computed on a pro-rated basis and payment will be in 14 days. The good thing is payment can be done via mobile money with no transaction costs.
Out of the total approved loan amount, on disbursement 95% shall be deposited to your Mobile Money wallet, while the remaining 5% shall be deposited to your savings account scheme of the fund. The president has been very vocal in encouraging Kenyans to develop a savings culture.
If you have a loan with other products you can still apply for the fund and it won’t be used to offset the others. What this means, your Hustler Fund will not be used to repay your Fuliza loan, for example. Your Fuliza overdraft will be suspended for up to 24 hours to ensure you are able to utilise the Hustler Fund first. However, funds received outside the Hustler Fund within 24hrs will be used to pay back your overdraft.
How to qualify for the Hustler Fund
First, you can only register one number into the Hustler Fund. If you need to register another number, you will need to opt-out of the current line but again, the SIM card in question can/ will only be eligible if it has been in use for more than 90 days.
You must also be a Kenyan citizen of 18 years of age and above with a valid national Identification Card (ID). You will also be required to provide the Location of residence during the onboarding process (where applicable)
Your registered mobile number must also be from a recognized Mobile Network Operator in Kenya i.e., either Airtel, Safaricom or Telkom, and have a mobile money account i.e., either Airtel Money/M-PESA/T-Kash.