Neobanks in Africa have recorded substantial growth thanks to the increase in mobile penetration and Internet connectivity. According to Statista, mobile use in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to reach 625 million subscribers and 483 million mobile Internet users by 2025.
One of the fastest growing neobanks in Africa is Umba, which offers free bank accounts and a suite of financial services to their customers all from a mobile app. Customers can spend, pay bills, get loans, and earn cashback all from their phone.
In 2020 as Umba’s growth accelerated during the global pandemic, they needed an identity verification solution that could scale rapidly and serve them across multiple countries. With the goal to build a premier pan-African neobank they needed to be a step ahead on compliance and work closely with regulators. They were looking for a partner who could provide them with not only identity verification, but also assist with compliance across several African markets with different regulatory requirements.
Smile Identity is currently connected to 16+ ID authorities and regulatory bodies across Africa. We met with the CEO of Umba and recommended that they use our Biometric KYC solution to perform selfie checks on customers who were onboarding and transacting on their platform.
In terms of compliance advice, when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released a statement regarding NIN and BVN changes in March of 2021, they came to us again for advice on how to maintain their growth and remain compliant.
“What is great is that Smile Identity has a close relationship with regulatory bodies. By working with Smile, we are well equipped to ensure we are compliant, and streamline our onboarding.” — Chirag Garg, Product Manager
During the pandemic, Umba was able to expand their customer base while remaining KYC compliant across markets. In the process, our solution assisted them in reducing fraud by more than 85%.
“We appreciate the relationship we have with key partners through Smile Identity. They help us to stay a step ahead of our competitors and understand regulations. If we have any questions regarding KYC or identity, Smile Identity are the experts we reach out to.” — Chirag Garg, Product Manager