Challenger Marhba is preparing to unleash its interest-free digital banking for Muslims in the UK and Europe.
The neobank is based in Leeds, in the north of England, and was founded by Abdulqafar Aden.
He tells Fintech Direct that Marhba is “fully committed to serving millions by providing a banking system that’s deeply rooted in Sharia law, Islamic tenets, and practices”.
With a lot of neobanks in London, Aden wants to “prove” that this new style of banking can be done in the north of the country as well. The bank will face some Islamic challengers of course – such as Rizq and Kestrl.
Marhba – which can mean ‘hello’ or ‘welcome’ in Arabic – has a waitlist at present. Its interest-free banking is a “necessity” as the target market comprises the 3.4 million Muslims in the UK.
There is no timeline, but the start-up has ambitions to bring its services to such countries as Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and Finland.
According to the firm’s website, there are various features on offer. These include savings, payments, interest-free funds and the option to pay Zakat (i.e. the annual payment made by Muslims to support those most in need).
Marhba has three staff members and there is no exact launch date yet.
Aden is also the Co-Founder of London-based payments firm Remittell. This entity lets users send money, reload airtime to phones and pay bills.
In terms of funding, there are no precise details but the neobank is in the early stages of raising a “small amount” from family and friends. Marhba also has “green lights” from investors in Dubai and Qatar.