Most people know what the D word is. It is debt. As much as people warn you against and my mother has warned me every time (till this day), I tend to get into debt. I borrow money to back when I have an emergency or need to buy something that has a deadline. So, yes, I don’t have a good history or relationship with debt. In Nigeria, there is a growing number of debt or consumer debt available. These are unsecured as they don’t have securities or assets required to get them. I started using GTB’s salary credit last year and their offering is quite good. But this year many things changed.
This year almost all my electronic devices crashed both my laptops and my phone. The computers were quite old, but I did not expect them to crash within a very close time to each other. My phone has a bad overheating problem so no, I won’t be buying an ASUS phone anytime soon. I also made a bad decision at work by giving someone to much access and that cost me a lot. So, I had to bear the cost of the mistake. This came with a few months and let’s include the lockdown.
The lockdown reduced movement and many people salary was temporarily cut because of the restriction on movement and business. I had to get some funds not only to get equipment but to get services such as internet. My provider, Spectranet, suddenly resumed giving extremely rubbish service. Spectranet, customer service, is extremely terrible. The technical people are much better but if the problem can’t be solved by the company, there isn’t much they can do. So, I had to get another ISP. That means more cost on my part. At this point, I needed to borrow some money but my main and only lender GTB had reduced their credit by about 50%. So, I need another option really fast.
As much as I don’t have a good history with debt, it was imperative that I get a new computer and a different ISP. I had to borrow money and I came across Sycamore.ng. Although, I knew the CEO on LinkedIn for a while (he writes very interested post on current events and personal finance) I didn’t think I would need to use his service. So, I went online I tried out the process. It was amazingly easy and straight forward. Although, I had to reach out personal to iron out a small issue, within a few short phone calls. My loan was approved. It came directly into my account and the loan agreement was downloaded easily from the Sycamore website.
Their rates were quite reasonable, and I personally couldn’t find any better or competing alternatives. The payback period was 4 months with a month delay before the deductions from my bank account began. By December, I had repaid the loan.
The loan allowed me to change the awful Spectranet I was using. It also allowed to study on-line more easily. Yes, I enjoy watching online lessons in 480p (144p is for peasants and Spectranet users). The experience with Sycamore.ng was very satisfactory. But I still caution people about personal debt. You have to very careful, responsible and have a very good relationship with your creditors so you can make adjustments in case something comes up. Let’s face it in Nigeria, this can happen a lot. However, I think Sycamore represents a very important part of personal finance in Nigeria.