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Umba reduces fraud by 90% using Smile Identity

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Umba at a glance


Reducing fraud while continuing to scale



Country of operation


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reduction in fraudulent accounts
1.7 million
identity verifications completed

About Umba

Neobanks in Africa have recorded substantial growth thanks to the increase in mobile penetration and Internet connectivity. According to Statista, mobile use in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to reach 625 million subscribers and 483 million mobile Internet users by 2025.

One of the fastest growing neobanks in Africa is Umba, which offers free bank accounts and a suite of financial services including small loans to their customers all from a mobile app. Customers can spend, pay bills, get loans, and earn cashback all from their phone.

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Challenges with scaling

In 2020 as Umba’s growth accelerated during the global pandemic, they needed an identity verification solution that could scale rapidly while preventing fraud. With the goal to build a premier pan-African neobank they needed to be a step ahead on compliance and work closely with regulators.

Providing loans is a high-risk endeavor in any environment but especially in hypergrowth. As Umba was onboarding thousands of user per day, ensuring the users were who they say they were by verifying only ID numbers was a challenge.

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Partnering with Smile ID

Smile Identity recommended that Umba implement a facial biometric solution to perform selfie checks on customers onboarding and transacting on their platform. This helped them ensure the users onboarding on their platform matched the ID number provided.

During the pandemic, Umba was able to expand its customer base while remaining KYC-compliant across markets. In the process, our Biometric KYC solution assisted them in reducing fraud by 90%.

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We appreciate the relationship we have with key partners through Smile Identity. They help us to stay a step ahead of our competitors and understand regulations. If we have any questions regarding KYC or identity, Smile Identity are the experts we reach out to.

Chirag GargProduct Manager
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