Wahed, a startup founded to provide ethical financial services that are in keeping with the Islamic faith, has opened a physical branch in a rare move for a fintech company.
Wahed’s first physical location will be located in London’s Baker Street, with the goal of expanding the reach of its financial services.
The move goes against the grain of retail banks closing high street locations. Data from Which? found that banks and building societies have closed 5,431 physical branches since 2015 at a rate of around 54 per month.
“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 Junaid Wahedna, founder and CEO of Wahed.
Alongside the location launch, Wahed is also releasing a debit card, catering to the UK’s 3.9 million Muslims. The Wahed gold-backed debit card will allow customers to spend and save, with their money held in a gold exchange-trade commodity (ETC).
“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.”
Launched in 2017, Wahed has over 300,000 customers globally. It operates in 130 countries and has offices in Washington D.C, New York, London and Dubai.
It has secured $75m in private investment.