EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is a part of our Money254 Partner Series and is produced in partnership with Mogo Kenya. For more on Money254’s editorial policy, read here.
Have you ever been walking in town and had to abruptly check your pockets to confirm if you still have your phone? The anxiety that comes with being away from your phone or losing it entirely is partly because phones, and especially smartphones, have become an essential part of everyday life.
It is almost impossible to function in this modern world without a smartphone. We use them to connect with our friends and relatives, carry out income-generating activities including work calls and emails, and basically be part of the globalised world.
Despite their importance in our lives, smartphones come at a significant cost which can sometimes be a challenge. It is normal to find yourself in some financial hardship from time to time - everybody does. But if this happens when you need a smartphone, it can feel like you have been disconnected from the world.
It could be that your smartphone was stolen, lost or damaged. Or it has seen better days and is increasingly becoming unusable. In other cases, you already have some money to buy a smartphone, but it is not enough to buy the device that best suits your needs.
It is during such times that having the option to acquire the smartphone that you need with just a small deposit and paying the remainder in small instalments would become a lifesaver.
And indeed, smartphone financing is now available in Kenya. With a deposit as low as Ksh3,000 and weekly instalments from Ksh550, you can get the smartphone your side hustle or lifestyle needs without having to part with the full amount all at once.
Whether you are on your first job and need to upgrade to a better smartphone or:
…smartphone financing is here to make your journey smoother.
In this review article, we dive into the Mogo Smartphone Loan, one of the most recent smartphone financing products in the Kenyan market to help you figure out if it is the right option for you.
We explore eligibility, the terms of the loan, the cost of the loan, available devices and the step by step application process.
Mogo Kenya is a lending company that is part of the Elving Group, an international fintech firm that operates in 15 countries and offers financing options for used cars, logbook loans, Boda Boda and Tuk Tuk loans. One of the newest products now being offered by Mogo Kenya is smartphone financing.
Smartphone financing or a smartphone loan, refers to a model of acquiring a smartphone through credit.
Instead of clearing your savings account to purchase a smartphone, financing allows you to still acquire the same smartphone but instead part with a small deposit and the rest is paid in weekly instalments over a fixed period usually up to a maximum of 1 year (52 weeks).
This way, you get to keep the money you have and utilise it in other beneficial ways while you pay a small amount every week towards fully owning your smartphone.
This option allows you to get the device even when you do not have the full amount needed for an outright purchase. Once you have fully paid the balance - which earns an interest - the lender remotely uninstalls the device management software on the device and it becomes fully yours.
If you are trying to visualise how a smartphone loan can add value to your life, below we discuss some of the top reasons those who have benefited from smartphone financing give for choosing this option.
You need a Smartphone to earn a living but do not have the cash in hand. It could be you are employed and require a phone to effectively do your job.
Imagine a real estate sales agent who often has to share photos of properties on WhatsApp. Failure to have a smartphone would significantly reduce productivity.
The same applies to most places of employment where emails often have to be read and opened during work hours as well as during off days. It is common to have emergency communication on a work WhatsApp group, even when it is a holiday.
If this sounds like your life and you do not have enough cash to buy a smartphone, then taking financing may be something to consider.
Smartphone use in a work setting goes beyond those in employment. You might need a smartphone to increase your own income generation opportunities. For instance, if you run a physical shop, say a boutique, you may be able to attract more clients by advertising online.
You could also be unemployed but looking for opportunities which are much easier to find online. In fact, job vacancies in Kenya are increasingly advertised on online platforms.
Even in cases where the application is made physically, say by dropping an application, it is often the case that the interview invites or the acceptance letter, is delivered, are delivered through email.
You might have a functional smartphone but in need of an upgrade. There are many reasons to upgrade a smartphone, even when it's working just fine. Some functions that are a part of social or work life may need a more capable device.
For instance, the sales agent described above may find that quality images ease the marketing experience and bring in more sales. It could also be that your job often requires you to upload and download loads of files which necessitate the need for extra space. If you work in the field often, a healthy battery life could be an important reason to upgrade.
In some cases, the need to upgrade is more obvious, like that old battered phone that drains the battery an hour after getting to full charge. Or the screen that has been replaced so many times it sometimes texts people on its own!
Accidents happen and smartphones are prone to accidents. That spill of fall may damage a critical part of your phone. In some cases, the cost of repair is so high that it only makes sense to buy a new one.
Losing a smartphone can be a devastating experience. It could be that you misplaced it in the field or while on transit and never found it, or it was stolen.
Whichever the case, it can set you back both mentally and financially. If you are not in a position to make another outright purchase, then smartphone financing may be something to consider.
Picture this, you just landed your first job or got a promotion. You are sure some decent income is coming, but your phone is not serving you well.
Maybe it is a business deal that is coming up and you are sure in the coming months you will be making some predictable income that taking smartphone financing makes more sense than waiting until the day that money will land in your account.
Whichever reason you may have for needing a new smartphone, if you do not have the cash in hand today but you can predict your income over the next several months, smartphone financing can be a good option for you depending on how soon you need the device.
To access Mogo Smartphone Financing, you start with an application on the Mogo website.
Step 1: Fill the Mogo Smartphone Loans application form where you are asked to provide the following basic information
You will also need to Authorise Mogo Auto Ltd (and other companies in Mogo Finance group) to access and query your credit information from any of the licensed CRBs.
Step 2: Your application is processed and if you are pre-approved you will be requested to provide the following documents to fast track approval. The documents should be sent to email@example.com
Step 3: Once Mogo receives the above documents, you will be notified within an hour (during working hours) and direct you to the nearest Mogo branch to pay the deposit, sign the agreement and leave with your phone.
In cognisance of the challenges many working Kenyans may have in accessing branches or partners shops during working days, Mogo also offers you the option to get the phone delivered to your location (home or workplace) for deliveries within Nairobi.
With this option, you never have to visit any branch to apply or receive your device.
NOTE: You can also visit any Mogo branch for a physical application process.
The home and office delivery option for the Mogo smartphone loan is only available in Nairobi, although Mogo is looking to expand the service to other towns and cities.
The difference in the process from the physical pick-up is that you have to pay a non-refundable Ksh500 upfront fee before the delivery can be initiated.
The phone is then delivered to you by a Mogo agent who confirms that the person receiving it is the same person who applied for the loan.
Once this is confirmed, you will then be required to pay for the down payment (minus the Ksh500 already paid) and sign the agreement. The agent then hands over the phone to you.
The Mogo Smartphone Loan is available to Kenyans who are between the ages of 23 and 55. You also need to have a monthly income of at least Ksh18,000 per month. This can either be your salary, or other forms of income that can be tracked through your bank statements or M-Pesa.
The following documents are required as part of the qualification criteria for the Mogo smartphone loan:
Each of the available devices under Mogo smartphone financing is priced individually. The instalments will vary depending on the specific phone brand, the down payment amount you have paid and the loan duration.
Here is a breakdown of the minimum down payments and minimum weekly instalments for some of the smartphones currently available for purchase through Mogo smartphone financing.
If you are late on paying your weekly instalment, Mogo charges a daily fee of 1% of the unpaid due amount.
For example, if you are supposed to pay Ksh550 per week and default when you have a balance of Ksh20,000 - the penalty will be Ksh200 per day. You will also be receiving daily reminders to regularise your account.
However, if after several days you have not paid the weekly instalment, Mogo will remotely activate a security feature that makes your smartphone features limited until after the payment has been updated.
The Mogo Smartphone Loan is processed pretty fast. The turnaround time from the time of identifying the phone, to approval, and receiving the device can be as low as just 5 hours.
With 10 smartphone models and three manufacturers to choose from, you are guaranteed to find a smartphone that matches your budget under the Mogo Smartphone Loan. You can also apply for a different model at one of Mogo’s partner shops (apply to find out more).
The prices of the available devices range from as low as Ksh15,000 to Ksh75,000. Devices within this range cover a wide variety of user needs and budget levels.
The delivery feature is also an innovative feature of the Mogo Smartphone Loan. This serves clients who may not be in a position to visit a physical branch or shop to pick up the device.
For example, if you work long hours and wish to take up the smartphone loan, you could consider the Mogo option on account of the convenience that comes with an office or home delivery.
This makes the entire process from application to processing to taking ownership of the device a fully online process to the convenience of most full-time employed Kenyans.
Note that this service is only available for deliveries within Nairobi as of now.
Mogo offers you the flexibility to either pay your instalments weekly as you get the money or to bundle the monthly payments into a monthly upfront payment.
This is a great option for those who receive their payments monthly since they don’t have to look for money in the middle of the month to keep their account in good standing. You just pay for the next four weeks when your monthly pay check comes in.
If you are in business and your customers pay you daily, the weekly instalment option is a seamless one. With both options you get to pay slowly for your smartphone without necessarily reorganising your budget in a major way.
One of the biggest advantages of taking the Mogo Smartphone Loan is the fact that early repayment is not penalised.
This means, you can purchase a smartphone today for a small down payment and an even smaller weekly payment and once you get a windfall you can pay the full balance and save on the interest you would have needed to pay had you kept the loan for the entire loan duration.
For example, if you were to repay your smartphone loan in 52 weeks (1 year) and on week 30 you get some extra cash and decide to clear the balance, you will not need to pay the interest that would have accrued in the extra 22 weeks that remain of your original loan tenure.
This option makes a case for the Mogo Smartphone Loan as a great option for someone going through a tough financial phase but know they will be recovering soon - e.g. a big order just checked in and it will be paid in about three months.
So, in the above example, instead of waiting for three months to buy the smartphone that will facilitate your day-to-day business activities, you get the Mogo Smartphone Loan and pay back the amount in full once you are paid.
While the devices available for purchase with the Mogo Smartphone Loan offer a wide budget range, the devices and brands are relatively few. This is nevertheless typical of the smartphone financing options available in Kenya today. However, the product is relatively new and Mogo has been increasing the number of available devices by the day.
The Mogo Smartphone Loan has to be repaid in weekly instalments. This can be a challenge for those who are salaried (pad monthly) or who receive their income payments fortnightly (every two weeks). However, it is possible to organise yourself at the individual level and make the monthly or fortnightly repayments in advance.
For example, if your plan requires you service the loan in Ksh1000 weekly instalments, you could pay Ksh4,000 at the beginning of each month to cover your instalments until the next payday.
Smartphone financing provides a convenient route to owning a smartphone even when you are not able to raise the full purchase amount upfront.
It can also be very beneficial for anyone seeking to own a device that supports their work, side hustle or other income-generating activities including online networking.
From work opportunities, to business growth opportunities, or even helping your kids CBC with homework, the advantages that come with owning a smartphone are enormous.
The Mogo Smartphone Loan is one of the innovative products available in the market today whose speed and ability to pay early with no penalties makes it a worthy consideration.
But like any other credit product, you have to assess your ability to repay the loan in full so that at the end of the tenure the smartphone becomes fully yours. Make sure you have estimated your ability to raise the weekly instalments for the duration of the loan before signing up for smartphone financing.