What is it?
The IFN Islamic Fintech Landscape is an ongoing global initiative by IFN Fintech to identify and map out fintech firms offering Shariah compliant solutions.
Eligible companies are screened and approved based on the following criteria:
- Must be a fintech company
Fintech companies are those that combine financial services with innovative technology, particularly through internet-based or app-based services. They do not deliver their services through traditional branch network or physical units.
Fintech is a broad term and therefore fintech companies have different business models offering a diverse range of products and services but the common characteristic is the usage of technology to deliver cheaper, faster, more user-friendly services more efficiently and transparently.
For example, a bank with an interactive website and sophisticated mobile app is not a fintech company if it still relies heavily on traditional physical infrastructure to reach and service their customers.
- Must offer Shariah compliant solution(s)
This includes firms which offer both conventional and Islamic products. In IFN Fintech, fintech firms offering Shariah compliant services are often referred to as Islamic fintech companies.
A company meets this requirement if it has secured a Fatwa certifying the Shariah compliance of its product; however, in the case that a start-up or firm has not obtained an official pronouncement yet, its inclusion into the IFN Islamic Fintech Landscape is on a case-to-case basis which will be advised by a panel of experts. Companies without an official Shariah compliance recognition is highlighted with an asterisk (*) in the Landscape.
- Must have an established business or in the process of developing MVP
The Islamic fintech companies included in the Landscape are at various stages of growth. Due to the infancy of the segment, a majority of those included would be early stage start-ups in the process of developing a minimum viable product (MVP), and may or not may have officially launched into the market yet but are in the process of doing so. Their development would be continuously monitored by IFN Fintech – should a start-up fail or discontinue its project, it will automatically be removed from the Landscape.
Identified companies will be categorized into the following verticals as defined below:
An online marketplace which matches borrowers and lenders, allowing projects or ventures to be funded by a large number of people, offering small amount of money, through the internet. It is an alternative source of funding to banks and includes:
- Donation-based crowdfunding
Investors receive no remuneration for their contribution, which are usually given as the cause aligns with their own beliefs/values
- Reward-based crowdfunding
Investors receive non-monetary consideration such as right to pre-order items, or being credited in a project
- Equity crowdfunding
Investors receive a share or equity in the project/company based on investment
An online marketplace which matches borrowers and lenders, allowing projects or ventures to be funded by a large number of people, offering small amount of money, through the internet. It is an alternative source of funding to banks. Investors receive their money back plus pre-determined rate of interest/profit.
Digital platforms offering financing to individuals, SMEs and/or corporates
Digital portfolio management systems providing algorithm-based and largely automated investment advice and decision
Personal Finance Management (PFM), Trading & Investments
PFM: Digital applications facilitating private financial planning and budgeting, based on Islamic principles eg incorporating Zakat.
Trading & Investments: Digital platforms facilitating the trading of assets and investments
Payment, Remittance & FX
Companies offering alternative payment solutions such as mobile payment, e-wallets, payment gateways (payments), the transfer of money in real time between individuals (remittance) and the exchange of currency (FX)
A bank that offers traditional banking services through digital means (web, mobile app, or social media); does not own traditional physical banking branch network
Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrency: Digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and serves as a medium of exchange
Blockchain: Distributed ledger technology that has been adopted by Islamic financial institutions or for Shariah compliant financial transactions
Firms that offer insurance or facilitate the acquisition of insurance through digital/mobile means; does not rely on traditional physical distribution channels
Data & Analytics
Providers of technology allowing Islamic financial institutions to improve performance and make better decisions using data analytics. Also include regtech firms which provide technology to help firms working in the financial services industry to meet financial compliance rules.
Trading & Investment
Companies offering digital Shariah compliant trading and investment solutions
While incubators and venture builders are not fintech companies per se, however, they represent an integral part of the Islamic fintech universe and are therefore recognized in the Landscape. Organizations or programs included under this vertical have a specific focus to develop Islamic fintech ideas and start-ups through various support pillars including creating access to mentors, investors and human capital.
This describes fintech businesses that cannot be neatly categorized into the above verticals but still meet our definition of Shariah compliant fintech
The IFN Islamic Fintech Landscape is updated regularly and companies are screened internally by the IFN Fintech team under the advice of an independent panel of experts. Each company is researched thoroughly, including being asked a series of questions, before they are included in the Landscape. As the market continues to evolve, so will the Landscape as new verticals emerge or change.
If you are an Islamic fintech company, or know of one which is not listed in the landscape, kindly contact the Editor at [email protected]
- Companies without an official Shariah compliance recognition is highlighted with an asterisk (*) in the Landscape
- One company may appear in more than one vertical depending on products offered but it will only be counted as one in the final count of Landscape constituents