Data Commissioner clears Tala as data controller

Digital lender, Tala, has become the latest firm among hundreds to be cleared as a data controller in Kenya by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC).

The move now gives the financial technology company the power to control the processing of personal data, determine the purpose, means of processing the data and ability to instruct regulated third party to process data on its behalf.

Tala Kenya General Manager Munyi Nthigah has said the fintech with its 3.5 m million customer base only asks for data legitimately needed for consumers to access Tala products such as loan underwriting, and provides full disclosure as to how it uses customers’ data in its privacy policies.

Nthigah says all information Tala collects during the application process is used exclusively to verify the customer’s identity and build their credit profile and that the firm never shares or sells customers’ personal information with third parties except towards those ends, and with express customer permission.

“I would like to emphasize that at the core of Tala’s consumer data protection policies are the safeguards, security measures and mechanisms we have implemented to protect personal data, so that we are able to swiftly react to any potential data breach,” said Nthigah.

He says Tala also allows customers to request access to, clarification, restriction, rectification, or deletion of their personal data from the firm’s records.

The Data Protection Act 2019 requires data controllers, which are firms that determine the purpose and means of processing of personal data to register first with the Data Commissioner.

The decision comes as  Tala Legal Director Nicola Muriuki, urged its customers to also ensure they understand their data rights.

Nearly 3 billion people globally are underserved by the formal financial system, with
little to no options to support their financial agency and independence.

Tala says it leverages mobile technology and data science to serve customers excluded by legacy financial institutions, a factor that has helped deepen financial inclusion in the country.


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