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We asked 1,500 British Muslims about their finances

21 Feb 2022

Hi, I'm Areeb, the Founder & CEO of Kestrl: The Muslim Money App. Every now ad then we like to share "start-up stories" of how we came together and created Kestrl. It all began 2 years ago through conversations with our most important shareholder: YOU


As part of our Summer research project for our MBAs at the University of Cambridge in 2019, Daeng and I launched The Great British Islamic Banking Survey, where we travelled around the country with the aim of interviewing as many Muslims as possible. We wanted to find out:

  1. Did British Muslims actually care about Islamic Finance?
  2. What kind of solutions did they want to see?

The results were surprising to say the least of the 1,500 people interviewed*.

  • 90% of Muslims stated they desired Financial solutions that matched their religious beliefs, a much higher figure than anticipated, especially given the reticence towards Islamic Finance in other Western countries such as Germany.

  • However, less than 5% of Muslims were actually using existing Islamic Finance services. This included highstreet banks as well as a range of 'fintech' services available.

  • When asked why, users cited 3 primary reasons:
    1. Poor understanding of what made these products truly 'Islamic', compared to interest based equivalents
    2. Poor UX/customer service in the form of websites, apps or in-branch experiences
    3. High fees compared to conventional services (especially mortgages)

Whilst these results were interesting, we also made some rookie mistakes when speaking to users. We focussed far too much on the Solution, asking people 'What would you like to see in a solution?' rather than discussing specific pain-points people faced.

As it turns out, when asked what would people like to see?, people tend to select everything!

This would have resulted in a Frankenstein's Monster of a finance app, trying to do everything from mortgages to debit cards at the same time (and none of it well).

Thankfully we quickly amended our interview style to focus on listening to people talk about their problems for 20-30 minutes at a time, rather than telling us their ideal solution. We asked the following questions:

  • What's the hardest part about achieving your financial goals as a Muslim?
  • How often do you encounter this problem?
  • What made it hard in the first place?
  • What have you done to try and solve these problems?
  • What did you not like about the solutions you've tried?

This results were entirely different to what our original questioning had led us to believe. We learned that Market Research is important, BUT shouldn't be the be all and end all. It was more a guideline for how to operate and iterate your solution going forward- and something we will continue to do at Kestrl.

  • Total responses: 1,518
  • Age range: 18 to 55
  • Gender ratio: 65:35 M:F
  • 45% Pakistani, 30% Bengali, 10% Somali, 15% Other

For press related enquiries or you have questions about any of our findings please reach out on info@kestrl.io. Thanks!


Thanks for checking out this blog post! Download Kestrl: The Muslim Money App to start achieving your financial goals without compromise today!

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