As multiple bank branches across the UK face the chopping block, Wahed‘s latest announcement of the launch of its Central London branch comes as refreshing good news.
Wahed, a financial investment company, confirmed the launch of its physical branch in London, UK, this week in tandem with the arrival of its new debit card offering.
At a time when as many as half of high street banks have closed up shop over the last seven years, Wahed’s new 140-square meter Baker Street space marks the arrival of the company’s first physical outlet in the UK.
The branch, which opened its doors for the first time on 24 January, aims to advance financial inclusion through accessible, affordable and values-based investing. It will provide a reliable, tangible location for the company’s customers to engage with its offerings, including opening spending and savings accounts, wills advice, investments and private equity.
The launch of Wahed’s gold-backed debit card
In conjunction with the launch of its London branch, Wahed is also introducing its gold-backed debit card. The offering enables the company’s customers to use Wahed as their main spend and save account, where purchases are made with money held in a gold exchange-traded commodity (ETC).
The use of an ETC in this way avoids the interest rates imposed by the traditional banking system. As Wahed is an Islamic company, its products actively seek to avoid interest, known as Riba, as it collides with beliefs outlined in the Islamic faith.
Initial tests of the cards will subsequently take place in February.
The combination of Wahed’s latest offerings seeks to bridge the gap created by the speed of fintech innovation. In this way, flash features common among the new generation of fintech apps have left many users feeling increasingly estranged from the financial services they depend upon.
For this reason, the company is hoping that the launch of both its gold-backed debit card and its new London branch will make these services more accessible. The company’s official announcement confirms its intention to provide a ‘responsible’ service for investors ‘keen on security, not risk-taking’.
A response to the current climate
For the purpose of accessibility, customers can access the company’s services via its telephone line or now through a visit to its new branch; reassuring features to have amid the current economic uncertainty.
“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,” comments Junaid Wahedna, the company’s founder and CEO.
For that reason, Wahedna explains how the card offering allows users to access and invest their money in “a responsible and secure way…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.”
Wahed has raised over $75million in funding to date, with backers including footballer Paul Pogba, family offices and institutions.
Above all, the company sees its mission as to change how the Muslim community participates in global financial markets by making investing accessible and ethically compliant for the 1.8 billion Muslims globally.