M-Shwari Loan Limit: Why your M-Shwari limit is 0 and how you can increase it

Discover the power of M-Shwari, a revolutionary mobile-centric banking solution offering convenience, credit facilities, and paperless transactions. Learn how to increase your loan limit and manage your finances effectively

Sep 27, 2023 - 17:10
Sep 27, 2023 - 17:17
M-Shwari Loan Limit: Why your M-Shwari limit is 0 and how you can increase it
M-Shwari Loan Limit: Why Your Loan Limit is Zero and How to Fix It

In the digital transformation era, M-Shwari has emerged as a revolutionary financial product, offering Kenyans the convenience of mobile banking, paperless transactions, and access to credit facilities. This collaborative effort between Safaricom and NCBA has redefined banking, allowing individuals to save, borrow, and earn interest through mobile phones. If you've ever wondered why your M-Shwari loan limit is zero, worry not, as we delve into the depths of M-Shwari loans, the reasons behind zero loan limits, and strategies to increase your borrowing capacity.

What is M-Shwari?

Derived from the Swahili word meaning "smoothen" or "make something better," M-Shwari is a financial innovation aiming to uplift millions of Kenyans' lives. It's a suite of banking products offered exclusively to M-PESA customers through their mobile phones, bringing banking services to their fingertips without the need to visit a physical bank branch. M-Shwari encompasses deposit and loan products, enabling micro-savings and micro-loans with unmatched convenience and reliability. Getting started with M-Shwari is a straightforward process:

  1. Go to the SIM toolkit.
  2. Select 'M-Pesa.'
  3. Choose 'Activate.'

Once you've activated the service, you can apply for M-Shwari loans. However, the loan approval process is typical; it depends on individual factors.

M-Shwari's Loan and Deposit Products

The M-Shwari Deposit Account provides a micro-savings solution, allowing you to save for specific purposes or unexpected events. Key features include:

  • No minimum balance requirement.
  • There are no charges for the account or transactions between M-Pesa and M-Shwari.
  • Earn an attractive interest of 7.35% p.a. by the Banking (Amendment) Act 2016.

Loan Product

The M-Shwari Loan Account is your source of micro-credit. Borrow funds for investments, emergencies, or enterprises. To qualify for a loan, you need:

  • An active M-Pesa subscription for at least six months.
  • Regular savings on M-Shwari.
  • Active usage of Safaricom services.

Interest rates are tailored to your savings amount:

  • Saving Amount: KSHS 1 – 20,000; Interest Rate: 3% P.A.
  • Saving Amount: KSHS 20,001 – 50,000; Interest Rate: 4% P.A.
  • Saving Amount: > KSHS 50,001; Interest Rate: 5% P.A.

M-Shwari's Benefits and Features

M-Shwari presents a plethora of advantages for its users:

  1. Mobile-Centric Convenience: M-Shwari operates entirely through mobile phones, enabling users to transact from the comfort of their location.
  2. Paperless Transactions: With no forms or additional documents required, M-Shwari is a paperless banking solution that streamlines the account setup process.
  3. Zero Minimum Balance: Unlike traditional bank accounts, M-Shwari doesn't impose a minimum balance requirement, making it accessible to a broader range of users.
  4. No Ledger Fees: Users can bid farewell to ledger fees, reducing the cost of banking and enhancing financial inclusivity.
  5. Seamless M-Pesa Integration: Moving money between M-Shwari and M-Pesa incurs no transactional charges, fostering a seamless financial ecosystem.
  6. Competitive Interest Rates: M-Shwari rewards savers with competitive interest rates on their deposits, promoting a culture of saving.
  7. Access to Credit: The M-Shwari Loan Account empowers users to borrow money when needed, complementing savings towards investments or enterprises.

Why Your M-Shwari Loan Limit Could Be Zero

Your M-Shwari loan limit is influenced by various factors, reflecting your creditworthiness and financial behavior. Here are common reasons for a zero loan limit:

1. Minimal M-Pesa Duration

One of the primary prerequisites for obtaining an M-Shwari loan is a Safaricom line that has been active for at least six months. If your Safaricom line has yet to cross this milestone, it's likely the reason your M-Shwari loan limit is zero.

2. Minimal M-Pesa Transactions

M-Pesa transactions such as money transfers, airtime purchases, and bill payments indicate an active account and financial capability. Failure to engage in these activities could cause your loan limit to plummet.

3. Lack of M-Shwari Savings

M-Shwari offers a savings platform where subscribers can regularly deposit and accumulate savings. Your loan limit will likely remain zero if you have yet to save with M-Shwari.

4. Low Usage of Other Safaricom Services

Beyond M-Pesa, Safaricom offers services like voice calls and data plans. Your usage of these services plays a role in determining your M-Shwari loan limit. Your limit could drop to zero if you have not actively used them.

5. Late Repayments or Unpaid M-Shwari Loans

M-Shwari loans come with a 30-day repayment period, extendable by another 30 days with a penalty fee. Consistent late repayments or unpaid loans can reduce your loan limit significantly. Also, you cannot borrow further if you have an outstanding M-Shwari loan.

6. CRB Denylisting

Defaulting on M-Shwari loans can lead to being blocked by Credit Reference Bureaus (CRB), resulting in a zero loan limit. Being on CRB's list can be a significant roadblock to accessing loans from any lender.

Strategies to Increase Your M-Shwari Loan Limit

Now that you understand the reasons behind a zero M-Shwari loan limit, it's time to explore practical strategies to turn things around. Here's how you can restore and increase your M-Shwari loan limit:

1. Use Your Safaricom Line Regularly

Engage frequently with Safaricom services, such as M-Pesa and Lipa Na M-Pesa. Whether it's buying airtime credit or making payments, active usage indicates a live line, which can contribute to restoring and increasing your loan limit.

2. Save Regularly with M-Shwari

Regularly saving in your M-Shwari account is a proven method to elevate your loan limit. The more you save, the higher your loan limit can go.

3. Clear Outstanding Loans

To prevent loan penalties and maintain a healthy loan limit, clear any outstanding M-Shwari loans. Timely repayments demonstrate financial responsibility.

4. Stick to a Single Line for Safaricom Services

Using multiple lines can negatively impact your creditworthiness. Stick to one line for all your M-Pesa activities to boost your loan limit.

5. Borrow Occasionally and Repay Promptly

Borrowing and repaying loans on time positively influences your creditworthiness. It's like leaving digital footprints that lead to a higher loan amount.

How to Check Your M-Shwari Loan Limit

Checking your M-Shwari loan limit is simple and essential for managing your finances effectively:

  1. Go to your "M-Pesa" menu on your phone.
  2. Select "Loans and Savings."
  3. Choose "M-Shwari."
  4. Click on "Loans."
  5. Select "Check limit" to discover your current loan limit.



M-Shwari loans offer a transformative financial experience, providing access to credit and promoting responsible financial behavior. While a zero loan limit might initially seem discouraging, understanding the factors at play empowers you to take control of your financial journey. By employing strategies like consistent savings, prompt repayments, and active Safaricom usage, you can increase your M-Shwari loan limit over time, paving the way for greater financial flexibility and opportunities.

FAQs About M-Shwari Loans

Q1: What is M-Shwari? 

A: M-Shwari is a revolutionary banking product offered through mobile phones, enabling users to save, borrow, and earn interest seamlessly.

Q2: Why is my M-Shwari loan limit zero?

 A: A zero loan limit can result from minimal M-Pesa history, limited transactions, absence of savings, inactivity, late repayments, or CRB blacklisting.

Q3: How can I increase my M-Shwari loan limit?

 A: To increase your limit, use Safaricom services regularly, save consistently, repay loans on time, use a single line, and borrow occasionally.

Q4: Can M-Shwari loans lead to CRB listing?

 A: Yes, defaulting on M-Shwari loans can lead to CRB listing. However, as of now, CRB listings have been halted temporarily.

Q5: How do I check my M-Shwari loan limit? 

A: Check your limit by navigating to "M-Pesa"> "Loans and Savings"> "M-Shwari"> "Loans"> "Check limit" on your mobile phone.


The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It does not constitute financial advice or any endorsement of specific financial products or services. Your financial decisions should be made based on carefully considering your circumstances and consultation with relevant professionals.

Joseph Richard Joseph is a graduate of Mathematics and Computer Science (Applied Option). With expertise in Technology and Finance, he brings his knowledge to the field, demonstrating an authoritative understanding of these interrelated areas. Joseph is pursuing a Master's in Software Engineering, further expanding his skill set.