Evi saw the ad on Facebook. Quick, instant loans without collateral. No fuss, all online. “It got me curious, and so I clicked,” the 40-year-old homemaker said. She applied for an IDR 1 million (US$70) loan to help a friend, she claimed. The money was transferred to her account, but not in full—only IDR 700,000—as the remaining 30% went to the platform as fees. It was due in seven days.

With interest, she owed IDR 1.2 million (US$83) to the platform. But because she didn’t have the money, she applied for new loans from two other platforms. “We were digging holes to cover another hole,” she said.

AUTHOR

Yunindita Prasidya

Based in Indonesia, Dita is passionate about tracking the country’s growing digital economy. Her coverage is sector-agnostic—she has written about e-commerce, edtech, fintech, venture capital, and publicly-listed companies, as well as stories on careers and workplaces. She was previously a business journalist covering banking and the stock market at The Jakarta Post, Indonesia’s leading English daily.

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