Nigel Farage can bank with us, boss of London fintech Pockit says as it unveils $10 million raise

 (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Archive)
(Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Archive)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The boss of a London fintech has said Nigel Farage would be able to open an account with them after it unveiled a fresh $10 million funding round.

Virraj Jatania, the CEO of Pockit, which serves customers left behind by mainstream banks, said: “Whilst I personally may not agree with his views, Nigel Farage would be allowed a current account with Pockit and he could open one in only a few minutes.

“Over the past few weeks, Farage has successfully raised awareness of the impact of being de-banked and underbanked.

“We are committed to being the financial super app for low-income and underserved groups. This includes politically exposed persons (PEPs) and we provide advanced monitoring for this group, to help prevent any potential issues.”

Pockit this week unveiled a $10 million capital raise to fuel a rapid expansion to attract customers who are not catered for by traditional financial services businesses.

The funding was led by Puma Private Equity and will be used to ramp its marketing operations, which includes visiting churches and places of worship to reach out to customers who may not be exposed to modern advertising.

As many as 20 million people in the UK do not have access to basic financial services, according to a recent study by accountancy firm PwC.

“With their very high costs and operating models with branches and tens of thousands of employees it makes it very unattractive and unprofitable for major banks to serve these customers and meet their needs,” Jatania told the Standard.

“But for us there’s huge room to grow still -- we want to build our customer base as much as we can.”

It comes after political campaigner Nigel Farage sounded the alarm over the closure of customer accounts at major High Street banks after discovering he had been ‘debanked’ by Coutts, a subsidiary of NatWest as internal documents reported that his political views were “at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation.”

Farage began a crusade against NatWest which led to the resignation of chief executive Dame Alison Rose and Coutts boss Peter Flavel, with his campaign on account closures winning the backing of ministers and Tory MPs.

Farage later said he was “launching a new campaign to fight back against the big banks that have let us down.”

“We need to understand the scale of this national scandal,” he said.

Since its launch in 2015, Pockit has grown to over 800,000 users and has processed more than $5 billion in transactions. The latest funding brings the total amount it has raised to $50 million.

Kelvin Reader, Investment Director at Puma Private Equity said: "In the current economic climate it is more important than ever to support underserved communities and help low-income customers feel seen and supported.

“We believe Pockit's services will become increasingly important in addressing financial exclusion across the UK and beyond and we see tremendous potential thanks to its tech-powered, partnership-led approach.”

Pockit is a prepaid account, not a bank. Prepaid accounts are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The firm does not have a banking license but instead uses the financial regulator’s e-money licensing scheme.