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I Was Late To Repay A Loan App, So They Ruined My Reputation

My Money Mistake is a weekly PiggyVest series that explores the worst money mistakes real Nigerians have made, and the lessons they learnt from it.

For this week’s episode of My Money Mistake, we spoke to a media professional who mismanaged ₦5 million within a few months and turned to loan apps for help. He tells us about getting into sport betting, turning to loan apps for help and managing the aftermath of defaulting on the loan.

Could you tell me your money mistake?

I got into sports betting around 2018, after helping a friend win over a period of time. I used to win consistently because I was very knowledgeable and passionate about basketball. On the 23rd of December 2020, I cashed out about ₦5 million.

That’s mind blowing!

Of course, I was very happy. I had never had a win this big. It felt like my passion really paid off. I’d gotten married just a few months before the win and it was right before Christmas, so it was perfect timing. Everyone around me felt the impact of the win. I also quit my job because I was being owed for months. 

The win made me more confident, so I increased my stakes and the frequency of my bets. Of course, I still won some, but my losses were more. And I kept losing more money. 

Oh dear!

The games got harder to predict, and the losses became even more consecutive. It had gotten really addictive, so I didn’t think to stop. 

What happened afterwards?

I turned to one of these loan apps with the goal of making back the money and paying them before the 7-day deadline I was given. I was quite confident that I would be able to win something, but I didn’t and things got even worse. 

I got several threatening calls. They sent messages to my phone and email contacts that I was HIV-positive. I was out of a job, so to get out of that loan situation, I took out a loan from another loan app. I eventually defaulted on that one too, and the same things happened. 

This time, they told my contacts that I was a psychiatric patient and they needed to get a hold of me and take me back to the psychiatric centre. These loan apps are crazy.

That’s crazy! How did you deal with that?

I had to start explaining to people that they were spreading the lies because I was owing them. I was always careful to leave out the part about my betting. 

And your wife?

I tried to hide it from her at the beginning, but she was disappointed. I explained to her and we got through it. 

How much was involved in total?

About ₦230,000. It was a series of ₦7,000 loans, but it escalated due to the high interest rates. Sometimes, the cost to be refunded is triple the initial amount loaned. 

And how were you able to get yourself out of it?

I got a job, so I was able to pay my way out of it. 

What’s your relationship with money like now?

I have improved my savings culture. I regularly save significant amounts of money into accounts I cannot access. 

What did you learn from all that happened?

I think it’s to have the self-control to stop before things go awry. Don’t try to fix your losses; you’ll get yourself in a bigger mess. I also stopped betting every day. 

You still bet?

Yes, although very minimally and with not so much money. I’m a social gambler now. 

Check back every Friday by 10 AM for a new My Money Mistake episode. Read the past episodes here. If you would like to share your story for the series, fill this form.

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