Why We Invested: Bankingly

Jan 04, 2024 · 3 min read

Bankingly is changing the game for small financial services firms. In the wake of unprecedented pandemic-related disruptions, it has become evident that digital infrastructure and payment systems are no longer just a “nice-to-have” cost reduction tool. Going digital is now a necessity for survival, customer satisfaction, and long-term success for financial institutions.

Challenges in Reaching the Unbanked

Over 1.7 billion adults globally do not have a bank account and most of these people live in developing countries. That’s not to say that financial institutions aren’t trying to reach them- there are over 20,000 small and medium size financial institutions across Latin America, Africa and Asia that focus on serving underbanked consumers. But 75 percent of these institutions do not have digital channels, relying instead on outdated, manual, and high-cost methods to service customers. The lack of digital tools increases operating costs, creates transparency issues, and lessens the bank’s ability to meet increasingly stringent compliance requirements. More importantly, the reliance on physical branches to reach customers limits their growth potential and hinders their ability to communicate with customers.

Martin Naor, who has previous experience in building digital banking software solutions for large banks in both the Latin America and Caribbean markets, founded Bankingly in 2015 with the goal of designing an affordable plug and play solution to address the operational challenges faced by these small and medium size financial institutions globally.

Revolutionizing Access to Financial Services: Bankingly’s Customizable Digital Banking Platform

Bankingly is a highly customizable software as a service (SaaS) platform that allows financial institutions to have their own web and mobile banking platforms. The firm promises to democratize people’s access to their money and deliver better services. Banks can contact their customers using a wide range of digital communication tools (WhatsApp, SMS, USSD) and customers gain access to their banking information 24/7.

Bankingly’s features include account management, real-time transactions, loan and check management, credit cards, service payment, fixed-term deposits and credit lines, wallet payments and transfers, and more.

Bankingly has demonstrated strong traction and customer loyalty. They have onboarded over 110 clients in 20+ countries across Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Across all their partners, Bankingly has 573,000 registered users of whom 266,000 are active.

Bankingly is out to Build Positive Impact

Before Bankingly stepped in, 76 percent of its customers had limited or no access to technology. The lack of technological sophistication stifled growth. Since on-boarding with Bankingly, on average customers have seen their savings deposits increase by 11 percent, credit usage increase by 12 percent, payroll accounts increase by 22 percent, and card transactions increase by 300 percent. Meanwhile, transactions costs have gone down by 45 percent. In addition, 53 percent of Bankingly’s billed users are making at least three transactions per quarter, demonstrating the power of the technology to drive retention and conversion.

Beyond the numbers, Bankingly is focused on empowering its bank partners to create a better future for the end-client. The company created a financial education channel that uses banners in the app to share educational content designed to improve the financial health of the end-customer.

Bankingly also runs awareness campaigns about keeping good financials records, developing healthy financial habits, preventing fraud, and saving money for emergencies. Bankingly also ran a program with a customer in Bolivia, Mujeres que Inspiran (Women Who Inspire), that they are now rolling out to other customers and geographies. The program worked with 100 women entrepreneurs who did not previously have access to credit and through training, coaching and personal follow-up, helped them access credit at preferential rates.

Bankingly’s Bottom Line

Bankingly charges a setup fee and a usage fee per onboarded customer. The one-time setup fee covers platform enablement, customization, user migration, and a platform integration kit and support. The usage fee is charged per unique monthly active user and covers platform operations as well as 24/7 support. The fee structure allows a customer only to pay for the users who opt-in, making the solution more affordable to smaller financial institutions.

Bankingly is rolling out cross-selling initiatives on its platform to enhance accessibility and user experience. These include a WhatsApp chatbot, a digital onboarding channel, loan origination for quicker access to credit, anti-fraud protection software for enhanced security, dedicated professional services to customize use the platform, USSD transaction intermediation, and bill payment integration. These initiatives aim to enhance accessibility, user experience, and security while expanding the range of services available to customers.

FINCA Ventures invested in Bankingly because of the company’s potential to overcome a huge barrier to financial inclusion. Bankingly’s solution empowers small and medium-sized financial institutions to effectively and affordably offer digital services to their end-customers, the majority of whom are underbanked, fostering financial health and inclusion for all. Bankingly is helping turn limited access into limitless possibilities!

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