Kuda is expanding its operations to the United Kingdom by offering a remittance product to Nigerians living abroad as part of a major global expansion drive.
The Nigerian-operating startup has been a major player in the fintech space since its inception by providing a personalized set of banking services that are easily accessible with mobile devices.
Kuda Bank was known for not charging bank fees but implemented a 50 naira charge on deposits of 10,000 Naira and more in July 2022. The bank awarded its millionth customer with 1 million Naira. It was listed as one of the seven WEF African technology startups of 2021
Kuda’s UK move
Kuda is a UK-based fintech founded by Babs Ogundeyi and Musty Mustapha. Its primary objective is to offer financial services to Nigerians and other Africans within and outside the continent.
Kuda has been largely successful since its launch in 2019. It claims to have up to 5 million users. Last August, Kuda raised $55 million during its Series B round, intending to enter other African countries like Ghana and Uganda this year.
However, the digital bank has opted to proceed with expansion into the UK by providing newly launched services such as remittance to Nigerians in the UK, direct debits, and local transfers.
While Nigerian users’ services are provided via its subsidiary, Kuda Microfinance Bank Limited. Kuda EMI Limited is the other subsidiary in charge of the newly launched services.
Kuda, which has raised more than $90 million from investors, will have to compete with other neobanks’, such as Revolut, Monzo and Wise, which have been widely adopted in the U.K. by several demographics, including migrants like Nigerians, which Kuda is targeting with its launch.
Kuda will partner with Modulr, a banking-as-a-service platform, to provide these financial services. Modulr is an embedded payments platform for digital businesses, to offer a mobile wallet, virtual and physical cards, local U.K. transfers and direct debits.
Remittance in Nigeria
Nigeria is Africa’s largest inbound remittance market and among the top 10 largest in the world. The remittance market accounts for nearly 4% of the country’s GDP as of 2020. However, sending money from Europe and America to Nigeria is challenging and expensive.
For instance, senders are charged 3.7% of the total amount to send money from the U.K. — the second largest sender of remittances to Nigeria, behind the U.S., and is estimated to transmit £3 billion yearly — to Nigeria, according to data.
African consumer fintechs such as PayDay, Kyshi, and Grey Finance compete with major international money transfer operators like WorldRemit and Remitly to control transactions in the U.K.-Nigeria corridor. Their advantage is the fees they charge, most of which are commissions of transactions.
Babs Ogundeyi, the fintech’s CEO, is not worried that they are trying to penetrate a saturated market. He told Techcrunch that there are still challenges that need solutions and the new services offer more than remittance.
“I don’t necessarily think it’s crowded because obviously, there are still a lot of challenges in remitting money to Africa, especially to Nigeria, which is still expensive. But for us, it’s not just a remittance play. There’s a user experience, convenience and price factor involved too.”Babs Ogundeyi, CEO Kuda
To that end, the digital bank is adopting a different approach that doesn’t charge transaction fees. The fintech says it’s entering the U.K. market by setting a flat fee of £3 with a transfer limit of £10,000.
Ogundeyi expects most of the transactions that will take place on its platform to fall between £350 to £500.
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