Fingo Africa joins Umba as second digital bank to be approved to launch in Kenya


Fingo Africa is becoming the second digital bank after Umba to receive regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to roll out its services in the Kenya.

Fingo Africa is targeting to roll out digital banking services including opening an account, making withdrawals and deposits, checking bank balances, requesting bank statements and monitoring financial records and will be working with Ecobank across 33+ markets in Africa.

Founded in 2020 by Kiiru Muhoya, Ian Njuguna, Gitari Tirima and James da Costa, Fingo’s digital-only offering is expected to bring more youths into the banking system by making traditional banking services paperless and thus convenient. The Y-Combinator (YC) backed startup aims to to take on traditional lenders who are struggling to keep pace with the digital services required by customers, leading to disenfranchisement among customers.

“Fingo is building a pan-African digital bank,” the company announced on its website. “Today, most Africans pay 5-15% fees to transfer money to friends, family, or businesses – with Fingo these fees will be 90% cheaper. In 240 seconds, any young person will be able to access a full suite of financial services including personal, business, investment and savings accounts.”

The platform aims to allow users to open secure accounts from the comfort of their phone, receive cash, deposit funds and make payments without having to go to a physical Bank branch is the present. The platform also promises to cut the high fees, limited access to a user’s money, and outdated technology which has been the norm in the legacy banking sector which is out of touch with modern consumers, making it challenging for users to make informed financial decisions.

Fingo assures users of financial technology that walks with them every step of the way and helps them plan their finances, fund emergencies in no time and have access to their funds around the clock.

As a competition, Umba launched its digital banking operations in Kenya after acquiring Daraja Microfinance Bank in a move expected to enable to offer full banking services in Kenya, including current accounts, interest-bearing savings accounts, fixed deposit accounts, lending, and payments.

Umba offers a growing range of banking services to their customers, which include consumers and SMEs, who are largely underserved by legacy brick and mortar banks. Umba adds that its accounts are insured by the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC).

Umba is backed investors such as Costanoa Ventures, who led their Series A, Lachy Groom, Lux Capital and Palm Drive Capital as well as strategic angels such as Monzo founder Tom Blomfield and executives from NuBank (the largest digital bank in the world) and Chandaria Capital, who strongly supported the Kenya launch.