Lending start-up Digicro Pte Ltd has disbursed more than $1.5 million in Cambodia through its mobile app Spean Loan since its launch last March, according to a report by Japanese news agency NNA.
The app has been downloaded 350,000 times across all 25 provinces in the Kingdom, keeping a repayment rate of more than 90 per cent as of January.
Digicro, a Singapore-based company headed by Japanese national Yuta Nagano, offers small loans (from $50 to $100) to people without access to banking facilities.
Its app Spean Loan uses machine learning to build a credit scoring system and evaluate a client’s ability to repay.
Nagano told The Post that more than 60 per cent of Cambodians have access to the internet. Still, many of them can’t get a loan because they lack the necessary documents, don’t have collateral or live in remote areas beyond the reach of traditional banks.
“Our team developed Spean Loan to help those who are underserved. The instant approval means micro-entrepreneurs can access the working capital they need each day or any emergency funds,” he said.
He noted that through Spean Loan, users can apply for a loan without paperwork or having to visit a bank.
Vithey Microfinance Plc CEO Bun Mony told The Post on Tuesday that he welcomed services like Spean Loan because they give customers more options and access to better interest rates.
“We welcome this service. It is unlikely that it could negatively affect the microfinance sector. It enhances access to loans,” he said.
National Bank of Cambodia deputy governor Neav Chanthana said 59 per cent of Cambodia’s adult population has access to formal financial services, of which 17 per cent is with banking institutions.
Another 42 per cent are with other financial institutions, 12 per cent with informal financial services and 29 per cent with both formal and informal financial services.
“To access financial knowledge is fundamental to improve financial inclusion in Cambodia,” she said.
Digicro has recently raised $1.2 million through third-party allotment and borrowing for development to improve its credit-screening systems, the NNA report said.
The company is also planning to launch an online service in Myanmar in 2020 to provide credit score assessment software for small-sized financial institutions.