OKash, an instant mobile loaning service from Chinese-owned browser firm Opera has launched in Kenya under OPay in a bid to provide users with quick access to short-term loans via their Android smartphones.
Okash which is joining a collection of apps such as Branch, Tala, Shika by Alternative Circle and KCB M-PESA and Safaricom and CBA’s M-Shwari is promising users a safe, easy and flexible way to apply and access credit loans for their everyday life expenses. From education and health expenses to travel and purchase of goods and services, OKash lands in Kenya with the clear goal of making loan management and access easier for everyone who owns a smartphone.
However, a number of users gave Okash thumbs down reviews and called it a scam just because their credit worthiness wouldn’t allow them access to loans. Another warned other users of their data privacy as Okash is owned by Opera, a browser which might use private data for its desktop and mobile browser-based ads or just collect user behaviour across all of Africa.
Those concerns might be true or false. Opera which sold its desktop and mobile browser operations, privacy apps and some of its assets for $600m to the Qihoo 360-led consortium threw itself into a hole as the security reports about Qihoo 360 aren’t encouraging.
To get into details, Golden Brick Capital.,which is backed by the affiliates of the Golden Brick Silk Road, Qihoo 360, an Internet and mobile security products firm and Kunlun, the owner of dating app Grinder and also a top mobile internet company, focusing on mobile gaming R&D and global publishing, as well as app distribution operation and the Fintech P2P lending business is what is raising eyebrows among Opay and Okash’s would-be users in Africa.
Kuaishipin, launched by the Chinese internet security company Qihoo 360 last November, is a video streaming platform for 1-3 minute short videos. The video streaming site has come under heat since mid-February when creators of other rival sites, including Bilibili, Kuaishou, and Weibo accused Kuaishipin users of ripping-off their content. Some users found that not only their content had been stolen, but their account information and profile picture could also be found on Kuaishipin. On top of content theft, Kuaishipin was accused of hacking user accounts as, allegedly, some creators can log in to Kuaishipin with Bilibili username and password.
Earlier on Qihoo 360 shut down Shuidi, its online live broadcast service following a widely circulated accusation over infringement of public privacy by smart cameras.
The company CEO’s is also against sharing of security knowledge. Qihoo 360 CEO and co-founder Zhou Hongyi has spoken against independent Chinese security researchers traveling to foreign conferences to share their insights by declaring that knowledge of software vulnerabilities should “remain in China.”
Some of this concerned Opay and Opera users know that Qihoo 360 also provides users with secure access points to the Internet via its web browsers and application stores and online advertising and through Internet value-added services on its open platform. They see their data more vulnerable with Opera now that OPay will enable its users to transfer money, shop and pay for services and products through their mobile or web browser at http://operapay.com and via mobile apps. Opay is not just limited to mobile payment methods such as mPesa and Airtel money but will allow card payments such as Mastercard and Visa.
OPay will also include essential services such as buying mobile airtime and data and paying for utility services like electricity and water. In Kenya, Opay users will be able to do airtime top up, electricity, and water, cable TV and WiFi payments and mobile data bundles. The firm is yet to declare when it will launch in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
OPay users are also eligible for exclusive offers and promotions and can access a personal Wallet and store all credits and bonuses they collect from transactions.
Opay’s OKash enables users to access small loans for an interest as low as 1 percent per day and a loan term of a maximum of 14 days. The faster a user pays off an active loan, the sooner they can request a new loan. Users with timely and consistent repayment behaviors can apply for a single loan up to 500,000 KES at a total interest of 5 percent.
Users can download OKash from Google Play and set up their account in seconds by using their M-Pesa account. By filling out a set of questions, users will get a decision on their loan application in minutes.
Okash to simplify the process of repaying the loan as the amount will be debited directly from your M-Pesa wallet
To repay the loan, users just need to click the repayment button and process it through the M-Pesa STK push service. This will simplify the process of repaying the loan as the amount will be debited directly from the user’s M-Pesa wallet. The direct debit is also one major security issue especially if users are not told about this and are in agreement.
Back to browsing, Opera is the first major browser to offer a free and no-log VPN service which promises users to safely send and receive data across public or shared networks as it’s embedded inside the Opera browser. But users wonder why they should trust the same company allegedly hacking into other people’s accounts on rival platforms in China to collect their data and replicate their accounts for its own platforms.
These habits show a company ready to intercept or access user data, control it if need be and serve ads and take on its competition or the users themselves.