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Safaricom clarifies reason for surprise lock on Kenyans' M-Shwari savings accounts

Kenyans were surprised to receive messages from M-Shwari saying that money in their savings accounts had been locked.

A Kenyan using their phone
  • M-Shwari users in Kenya received messages about their savings accounts being locked due to defaulted loans
  • Customers are expressing frustration and confusion over the sudden account locks, some dating back several years
  • According to Safaricom, users will need to repay the loans linked to their accounts to access the locked balances

In recent days, numerous Kenyans have reported experiencing unexpected locks on their M-Shwari savings accounts due to defaulted loans, some of which date back several years.

This issue has sparked a wave of frustration and confusion among affected customers, who are now sharing their experiences on social media.

M-Shwari, a mobile banking service provided by Safaricom in partnership with NCBA, allows users to save and borrow money via their mobile phones.

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However, a series of messages received by customers have revealed that old, defaulted loans are leading to sudden account locks, often without prior warning.

One customer shared a message stating, "Dear Customer, we have placed a lock of Sh 457.67 on your M-Shwari Savings Account owing to a defaulted M-Shwari loan of Sh457.67. The loan was taken on 2018-04-30 from your old line 254xxxxx. We wish to issue you a 7-day notice to settle the loan, otherwise, we shall utilise the locked funds."

Another customer received a similar message but for a higher amount and an even older loan dating back to 2017.

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The suddenness of these notifications has left many users disgruntled. Several customers took to social media to express their dissatisfaction, questioning the transparency and fairness of the process.

According to Safaricom, users will have to repay the loans linked to their accounts in order to access the locked balances. Failure will lead to an automatic deduction of the money.

"Please repay the loan and the funds will be released within 48 hour after the repayment," one of the affected customers was informed.

Customers argue that they should receive clear and timely notifications about their loan statuses to avoid such surprises.

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However, according to the M-Shwari Terms and Conditions, the bank has the right to use the money in a user's M-Shwari Deposit Account or any other account held to settle any outstanding debts owed.

"The Bank shall have a right of lien and set off over funds held by you in your M-Shwari Deposit Account, any other M-Shwari Account held by you and/or any other account held by you in the Bank," the terms and conditions read.

If you are among those affected by this issue, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Contact Customer Service: Reach out to Safaricom's customer service for clarification on your account status and the reasons behind the lock.
  2. Check Your Loan Records: Review your loan history to confirm the details of any outstanding loans.
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