Islamic finance grows in UK with digital bank Nomo launch
Currently one of Kuwait's leading Islamic banks, Boubyan Bank services both retail and commercial banking customers, as well as providing wealth management services in accordance with Shariah Law.
Nomo, the Group’s new fully licensed UK digital bank, is a brand under the Bank of London & The Middle East (BLME) umbrella, an award-winning bank of which Boubyan became majority shareholder in 2007.
Accommodating international banking needs
In developing Nomo, the company hopes to offer eligible customers in Kuwait an easy method for accessing and investing money in the UK banking sector. A specially designed app allows users to create an account in just a few minutes and enables seamless GBP and USD transactions through Mastercard.
“As well as daily banking services, Nomo provides Sharia-compliant investment opportunities by offering fixed-term deposits. Boubyan Group has proudly pioneered this state-of-the-art digital bank that provides Islamic digital banking services, accessible from anywhere in the world,” said Adel Al-Majed, CEO of Boubyan Bank Group.
“Most Islamic banks across the wider GCC region are behind the global digital curve in terms of the digital products and services being offered to customers. Nomo aims to propel Islamic digital banking towards a more innovative future where the priority is customer convenience on an international scale.”
Islamic finance continues to grow
Currently one of the most exciting areas for development in world finance, the Islamic fintech market is also expected to grow rapidly - transaction volumes are predicted to reach US$128bn by 2025, a 161% increase on 2020’s figure.
Of the countries currently leading the change, Saudi Arabia has proved itself to be the most successful with a sector worth $17.8bn. Once again, this is anticipated to rise to $47.5bn in four years.
In Findexable’s 2021 Global Fintech Rankings, Kuwait remained in the top 10 (#10) but slid two positions from its 2020 showing. Nomo could represent the beginning of a reascent for the country’s digital finance fortunes.
"In Nomo, we have brought together an impressive team from global digital and neo banks with a depth of experience in creating digitized banking systems. We have made substantial progress in a short period of time, and I look forward to working with the team as we continue to build the bank,” commented Andrew Ball, CEO of BLME
Upgrade launch new credit card with bitcoin rewards
Upgrade, a fintech company focused on providing credit for mainstream consumers, has launched the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card a new version of its Upgrade Card featuring bitcoin rewards. Under the new programme, users earn unlimited 1.5% bitcoin rewards on every purchase as they make payments.
The custody and trading platform for holding and selling bitcoin is provided by NYDIG and the card is a Visa Signature card, which includes benefits such as trip and baggage insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage.
The company offers credit lines from $500 to $25,000 with the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card depending on your credit score. It works with Apple Pay and Google Pay. Like other Upgrade credit cards, there are no monthly fees, late fees, or returned payment fees.
"Upgrade Card is already delivering over $3 billion in annualised credit to consumers," said Renaud Laplanche, co-founder and CEO at Upgrade. "Starting today, anyone can apply for an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card and enjoy the same affordable and responsible credit as with any Upgrade Card, plus the potential upside and fun of owning bitcoin."
Participating in the crypto economy
Upgrade isn’t the first company to announce a credit card with bitcoin rewards, but it’s the first one that is generally available. Anyone can apply with no waitlist, and start using their virtual card immediately until they get their physical card in the mail.
"Crypto rewards introduce cardholders to a new asset class that is increasingly part of a consumer's financial portfolio," said Terry Angelos, SVP and Global Head of Fintech at Visa. "Whether you're a crypto enthusiast or just getting started, programmes like the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card offer an engaging and low-risk way to participate in the crypto economy."
At the moment, you can’t do much with your bitcoins. You can choose to hold them or sell them. There’s no way to transfer your bitcoins to another wallet for instance. If you choose to sell your rewards, there’s a 1.5% transaction fee.
This card is not currently available in all 50 states. Customers in Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia can’t order an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card at the moment.