Safaricom customers who default on paying their Okoa Jahazi debt will now have their loyalty points to settle the debt. The move is aimed at curbing Okoa jahazi defaults and reducing the billions of shillings’ worth of Bonga points in the custody of the telco.
Under Okoa Johazi, customers request a credit advance for calls, data or SMS, which they are required to settle within five days. An instant levy of 10 percent is charged for each Okoa Jahazi credit, meaning the customer gets 90 percent of the credit advance.
The service enables customers to keep communicating when they do not have cash to but airtime. Usually, those who default in paying the credit are locked out from benefiting from the credit service.
Each Safaricom subscriber earns loyalty points when using the telephony services, resulting in substantial resources which the telco is now tapping to settle unpaid Okoa Jahazi debt.About three months ago, Safaricom reversed a plan to put an expiry date on its Bonga loyalty programme that had accumulated Sh4.5 billion in liabilities by March 2022. Putting an expiry on the app would have seen customers lose accrued points before 2019.
The latest position by the firm is against a November 2022 update of the programme’s terms and conditions that would have seen unclaimed points expire effective January 1, 2023.
Safaricom had said the move to impose expiry date on unused Bonga Points was a business decision aimed at pushing customers to redeem the points valued at Sh4.5 billion as the end of March 2022.
Bonga Points system was launched in October 2017, giving both prepaid and postpaid subscribers a point for every Sh10 spent on its network.
The Bonga Points can be redeemed for rewards including talk-time (minutes), data bundles, and messaging bundles.
For instance, 50 Bonga Points earns a customer four minutes of talk time with a validity of seven days.
The points are also redeemable for goods at select retail outlets while using Lipa na M-Pesa service.
The telco has also restricted the time within which customers can use up data resources bought through the use of its Bonga loyalty points.
Bonga data bundles that were previously marked as having no expiry are now carrying a validity of seven days, as per terms and conditions published by the telco.
Data redemptions on the telco’s Bonga points USSD platform in the meantime are indicating that Bonga data purchases, which range from 80 MB to one gigabyte, expire effective midnight on the day of the purchase.