By Daniel Lanyon on Tuesday 24 January 2023
The new branch will provide U.K customers with a one-stop shop for managing their money, the company says.
In a move bucking the trend of bank branch closures in the UK, Wahed, fintech serving Muslims, has opened a physical branch in central London and launched a new gold-backed debit card.
Wahed, which has been backed by £75m of funding from family offices and angel investors including footballer Paul Pogba, is opening the 140-square meter branch at 89 Baker Street in London to help customers build trust in the brand, according to the company’s founder and CEO Junaid Wahedna.
While an engineering student at Columbia University in New York Wahedna came up with the idea for a digital banking platform aimed specifically at Muslims.
More specifically, this means avoiding money held inside the traditional banking system so as not to be exposed to loans or interest, known as Riba in the Islamic faith.
In addition to the opening of the new branch, Wahed’s new gold-backed debit card will allow customers to make purchases from money held in a gold exchange traded commodity (ETC).
Wahedna says the company now has about c.300,000 customers between the UK, US and Malayasia but is targeting c.10 million in the coming years.
"During a period of economic uncertainty when bank branches are closing at an alarming rate, we’re optimistic about the future and opening a physical branch to cater for our customers,” said Wahedna, in a press statement.
In the UK, Wahedna says many Muslims opt to hold money in cash rather than open regular bank accounts which he says results in financial inequalities as inflation eats away at cash’s long term value.
“Wahed’s new gold-backed debit card allows the Muslim community to utilise technology to access and invest their money in a responsible and secure way, storing it safely and ethically without risk of exposure to Riba. Combined with the new branch, our community-focussed finance service provides Muslims with banking and investment opportunities that align with their faith,” he added.