Pockit – the financial super app for low-income and underserved communities – has raised $10 million in a growth round led by Puma Private Equity, with participation from The North East Development Capital Fund, managed by Maven Capital Partners and supported by the European Regional Development Fund.
Having started life as a prepaid card, Pockit now allows anyone – including the 20.2 million people across the UK who can’t access basic financial services – to open a current account in minutes. They can send and receive money internationally, set up direct debits, deposit and withdraw cash in 27,000 stores across the UK, make online and in-store purchases, and even get an advance on their salary, should an unexpected expense arrive. Founded by CEO Virraj Jatania in 2015, Pockit is on a mission to serve the billions of people who have been left behind by traditional financial services.
Without access to such financial services, managing finances becomes more difficult and less secure – compounding an already widespread problem of financial instability for many. While the very people who stand to benefit most from being part of our digital society are left on the outside. Simple things such as being able to shop around online for cheaper prices, and getting discounts for paying by direct debit, to vital services like storing your salary somewhere safe and secure just aren’t available.
Pockit has been built to finally break down these barriers and put these customers first.
Cost of living
Pockit goes beyond just opening the door to basic financial services, though. It gives users the power and confidence to take control of their finances; to improve their financial wellbeing through its credit building feature and budgeting tools, as well as cashback rewards and customer perks. With Pockit, users get up to 10% cashback on purchases made in a growing number of high-street stores including Primark, Argos, Sainsbury’s and more, while being able to save money by switching their broadband and mobile accounts from within the app.
In this way, Pockit’s appeal stretches far beyond underserved communities and brings significant benefits to anyone impacted by the cost of living crisis, inflation or anyone looking to make their money go further.
A recent report found that six in ten low-income households in the UK in 2023 are not able to afford an unexpected expense, and over half are in arrears. Over seven in ten families are going without essentials. Yet almost a third of the population can’t access current accounts, use debit cards, get insurance or easily access vital tools needed to improve such financial stability. At the same time, around 12 million are reported to have no savings.
The reasons are wide and complex, from poor credit scores and a lack of correct paperwork, to legacy systems, and the fact such customers aren’t seen as a priority for financial incumbents. This requires a dedicated, agile and tech-powered approach like Pockit.
Financial champion for those who need it most
Pockit bridges the gaps by being the financial champion for those who need it most. Through partnerships with best-in-class providers of KYC, lending, money transfers and more, Pockit is able to balance accessibility with robust regulation, all while mitigating risk and being able to respond quickly and effectively to market changes and customer needs.
Since launch, Pockit’s user base has grown to more than 800k people, largely through word of mouth, and has processed c. $5bn across 73 million transactions. The current funding round takes the total raised by the company to $50m and the money will be used to continue expanding its customer base and diversifying its product suite. Pockit is currently available in the UK but has ambitions to become the global financial champion for the underserved.
Virraj Jatania, CEO and founder of Pockit said: “For too long, low-income and underserved communities have been let down and left behind by financial services. At Pockit, we’re committed to not only opening doors for these people, but giving them the tools and support they need to feel financially empowered. It’s a problem that has been growing for years, and in the wake of the current economic climate, it’s only set to become more entrenched and more devastating for millions. We want to be the financial champion for those who need it most and this funding allows us to continue being there for even more people in many more ways.”
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 and the fact its customers and its needs are so core to everything it does. We see huge potential in the business. It has a highly scalable business model, and this investment continues our track record of supporting companies with growth potential.”
David Nixon, Senior Investment Manager of Maven said: “We’re delighted to participate in Pockit’s latest funding round. The business has developed a disruptive FinTech platform genuinely improving the experience for vulnerable customers and promoting financial inclusion. Our initial investment enabled the business to open a Newcastle base, joining the city’s thriving digital cluster, and we look forward to working with Virraj and the local team to continue to build out their North East presence as the company continues its exciting growth journey.