Goldman Sachs and Aramco-backed fintech Wahed takes over UK-based Niyah
Having online banking and digital payment apps are now a necessity – more so in the aftermath of the pandemic. As a result, companies are launching tools and services for all communities to make the shift to digital smoother. Now, US-based Islamic fintech Wahed just announced the take over of British fintech Niyah to boost financial services for the Muslim community.
With this new move, the company will enable Muslim users in the UK to access digital bank accounts, debit cards, and investments through a mobile app sans interest and no hidden fees. In a bid to expand its services to more countries, Wahed aims to “become a one-stop-shop for Shariah-compliant digital financial products and services,” it said in its statement.
Wahed essentially is an online investment management platform tailor-made for Muslims honoring the community’s ethical and cultural beliefs in its company policies. Balancing the Shariah and modern investments, it ensures its portfolios steer clear of the forbidden sectors such as gambling, firearms and alcohol.
Given that within three years of launching, Wahed’s services attracted over 100,000 customers in the US, UK and beyond, it’s easy to see how it was the need of the hour in the fintech industry.
This announcement comes after Wahed received a $25m investment led by Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures, its VC arm.
Commenting on the acquirement, Junaid Wahedna, CEO of Wahed said: “Our vision of creating a parallel financial ecosystem that helps minimize wealth inequality is one step closer as clients will now be able to allow their savings to work for them without partaking in the traditional money lending infrastructure.”
Sharing a similar sentiment, Ali Abdulkadir, CEO of Niyah said that this deal will “continue to grow an Islamic finance marketplace that is driven by the needs of the consumer and their rising demands for ethical investments.”
“Wahed has an excellent track record for delivering services to an underserved market, and with the support of Railsbank, it can continue to expand its banking offering beyond the UK,” Abdulkadir continued.
The Islamic fintech sector is indeed rife with growth – especially in the UK – as it is home to over 3 million Muslims as well as boasts a massive market outside of majority Muslim countries.
Building on UK’s growing fintech sector, Wahedna added: “Outside the Islamic world the UK has a long-standing reputation as a leading fintech hub and a major center for Islamic finance. Acquiring Niyah and launching our first banking services here enables us to leverage the opportunities that Britain’s unique financial hub brings, and to tap into a wide and underserved customer base that is receptive to our service offering.”
With footprint in 130 countries already, Wahed plans to sail across the world and provide its banking tools in North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East in the near future.