Kestrl, the Sharia-compliant Fintech


There is a niche of the economic market that has remained in the shadows for some time --- banking for the Muslim community. Some of the reasons for this are the perceived difficulties that entail integrating some Islamic principles (or Sharia) to the rest of the monetary world, and the fact that it still remains a relatively small percentage of the audience in terms of users.

Nevertheless, two Cambridge students named Areeb Siddiqui, and Daeng Termizi - CEO, and COO of the company respectively - united forces to address this unresolved issue. They did so with the creation of Kestrl, the Muslim Money App.

Background of Kestrl

Kestrl was created in 2020 by 2018 Cambridge MBA graduates Areeb Siddiqui, and Daeng Termizi, both of Muslim descent. It all started during a lunch break, when Daeng asked a very simple question to a much jaded Areeb -- the man was on the lookout for banks where he could achieve his goals without compromising his morals

“Why don’t you use an Islamic bank?” 

Befuddled by the lack of options, they decided to embark on the quest for creating a place, albeit virtual, where the financial needs of Muslim people could be met.

Much to their surprise, over 90% of the Muslim people they surveyed felt dissatisfied by the overlapping of their faith, and their urgency to fit into the current system. 75% of the surveyed people did not even use any sort of banks (University of Cambridge Judge Business School, 2021). More than 2.1 million individuals were being left outside of the system.

What makes Kestrl so unique?

What makes this fintech so unique, is that it is Sharia-compliant, as it is constantly monitored by Sharia specialist Mufti Faraz Adam, from Amanah Advisors --- unlike many diverse “Muslim” counterparts. This involves thoroughly respecting the Haram -- “licit” -- investments options, which consist, among its many precepts, not making money off of drugs, alcohol, and weapons. Harams are forbidden in Muslim beliefs and it’s not just making a profit from drugs, alcohol or weapons, but also other edicts like: investing in places that consume certain meats and meals, or funding institutions that anyone other than God. They also do not charge interest rates either, which is one of the foundational blocks both of Kestrl, and the Sharia. Muslim economy is strongly based upon equity, rather than interest.

They also make a strong emphasis on guarding the user’s privacy, as the data is encrypted. 

  • The stored registers by Kestrl of the clients’ data is minimal.
  • Based on ‘Read-only’ data access.
  • FCA-approved. 

In addition, they do not loan deposits, and the customer is able to know at all times where its money is at.

Another captivating perk is that the Open Banking modality, carefully crafted by its registered AI, reviews all transactions made within the platform. 

All in all, Kestrl follows Sharia to the letter.

Kestrl Features and Benefits

What makes Kestrl so interesting is the fact that it covers all of the aspects of the average user’s economy, from budgeting, and emergency planning, to saving, and investing. Obviously, in true Halal fashion. 

It also has many elements, mostly Online services, that many other competitors do not possess. Making this Fintech incredibly attractive to all customers, of all religions and faiths. Some of them are:

  • Marketplace entry.
  • Personal Balance Sheet.
  • Money Newsfeed.
  • Upcoming Bills.
  • Financial Health Check.
  • Zakat (approximately 2.5% of the portion of a Muslim’s wealth that is mandatorily deducted for the poor) calculator.
  • Daily Balance Check.
  • Insights (of over, and under expenditures).

These are some of the attributes that this Fintech possesses. Both founders promise a bevy of new features in the near future. Features which will expand its model base and offer users more financial control and tools in order to expand their portfolio.

As stated above, some of the next properties to be added in the next series of upgrades are:

  • Halal Savings Account
  • Kestrl ‘Eggs’ (goals-linked saving pots)
  • Kestrl’s Exclusive Debit Card
  • Halal Stock Screening
  • Carbon Footprint Calculator
  • Savings Finders

This means that you will be able not only to save money, but to keep close control of your investments, and to use your own personal issued Kestrl Debit Card. 

Curiosities about Kestrl

Kestrl is full of charming peculiarities. 

For instance, the name ‘Kestrl’ jokingly originated from the image of a bird of prey kestrel going to a Sterling Bank, which somehow managed to suit the company’s branding agenda.

Another captivating quirk is that both Areeb Siddiqui, and Daeng Termizi never expected to become entrepreneurs, as their main focus was to achieve eventual consulting seniority in companies such as Bank Negara Malaysia, and PwC. But somehow in the founding of Kestrl they found their true calling.

Kestrl became so recognized, that it even was inducted into the Cambridge Accelerate program, which provided the founders vital mentorship which can be reflected in their pivotal product. 

Following their imminent success, plausible rumours of expansion to Malaysia, and Indonesia are set to come to fruition.

Subscription, commissions, and purchase products are the go-to methods for the company’s financial model. Operation costs are now being met and profits are set to become effective around 2025.

In spite of its massive success, Kestrl boards have no future plans of becoming a bank, but rather becoming a haven for the Muslim community to channel their need to keep their financial deeds in check.

Why choose Kestrl?

In conclusion, Kestrl is an amazing platform. Full of advantages, trinkets, and gadgets that make it a promising entity. Fintech has a high chance of becoming a hallmark in the terrain of ethical investments. It not only invites people of Islamic faith, but all types of users that wish to have a more ethical oversight when it comes to their economy. Folks like Millennials, and Generation Z that are on the lookout for moral alternatives that are set apart from the traditional banking systems.