Kuda, a digital-only bank licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, has kickstarted a revolution in Nigeria’s banking sector.
Still in beta and only three months old, Kuda already provides full banking services through its apps for Android phones and iPhones, allowing everyday Nigerians with internet access to run a current account, save money automatically and earn up to 15% annual interest without the burden of bank charges.
By running a business model that excludes card maintenance fees, account maintenance fees, and excessive transfer fees, Kuda has set a precedent that sets it apart from other banks.
The bank also provides its customers with free debit cards which are delivered at no cost nationwide, differentiating it from digital wallets.
Speaking at the bank’s first town hall meeting – a gathering of finance experts, investors and Kuda customers which held on November 1, 2019, at Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja – Kuda CEO Babs Ogundeyi emphasized that being exclusively digital saves the bank the heavy cost of running a network of branches, savings which are then transferred to customers in the form of free banking services.
Mr. Ogundeyi also used the occasion to announce Kuda’s lifetime offer of 25 free interbank transfers every month for all its existing customers and everyone who opens a Kuda account before January 1, 2020.
“We discovered that most people make less than 20 transfers every month for personal use, so we decided to give everyone who opens a Kuda account this year 25 free transfers every month forever,” he said.
At the same event, Kuda’s efforts to make banking affordable for Nigerians were praised by several stakeholders in the finance and tech sector including Samuel Goriola Oluyemi, the Head of Emerging Markets/IFR/Agency Management at the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS).
“[Kuda has] revolutionized banking in Nigeria. Things we never thought could be done are things you’re doing,” Mr. Oluyemi said.
Also in attendance at the town hall meeting were the Deputy Managing Director of eTranzact, Hakeem Adeniji Adele; Chidinma Iwueke, a partner at Nigerian venture capital firm Microtraction and Wale Olokodana, Business Group Director, Cloud & Enterprise at Microsoft Nigeria.
The town hall meeting was supported by Microsoft Nigeria through the 4Afrika Initiative, an important partner in the bank’s mission to democratize financial services for Africans through digital technology.
Reiterating the global technology giant’s commitment to helping Kuda achieve its important goals, Microsoft 4Afrika’s EduAbasi Essien said, “Our mission at Microsoft is to empower every person on the planet to achieve more and our partnership with Kuda is a local case in point. We first joined forces with Kuda about two years ago, when they first emerged on the fintech scene. Known as Kudimoney at the time, Microsoft4Afrika identified this aspiring startup, selecting it for our BizSpark programme – a global platform that provides startups with access to Microsoft Azure cloud services, software and support free of charge over a one-year period.”
“4Afrika’s volunteering program, MySkills4Afrika also provided further technical training to suit Kuda’s development at every stage of their startup journey – providing hands-on practical solutions and best practices on how to structure their technical infrastructure for improved outputs,” concluded EduAbasi.
Earlier this year, Kuda announced pre-seed funding of $1.6 million.
The bank has since processed over 6.5 billion naira worth of transactions and saved its customers tens of millions in fees.