Tunisian fintech startup Kaoun has added new features to its payments app Flouci, a move that came about after it took part in a regulatory sandbox held by the Central Bank of Tunisia.
Formed in January 2018 when co-founders Nebras Jemel, Anis Kallel, and Rostom Bouazizi put their studies in the United States – at Harvard University, University of Rochester, and Columbia University respectively – on hold to come back to Tunisia and build a fintech startup, Kaoun is “building a pipeline for financial inclusion”.
Its first product is Flouci, an application that helps users create bank accounts. The app launched a year ago, and Kaoun has since launched the public experimentation phase of an innovative customer onboarding process, 100 per cent digital via smartphone. This process has been approved by the regulatory sandbox of the Central Bank of Tunisia for experimentation.
The sandbox is a new initiative by the Central Bank of Tunisia aiming to work closely with innovative startups, and evolving the regulatory framework based on real data. Kaoun is part of the first cohort, and has worked on an e-KYC (Know Your Customer) process to open free bank accounts without physical presence for the unbanked and underbanked.
This is using a proprietary process to replace its current video interviews with banking agents with an automated liveness challenge and other algorithmic checks. The goal is to reduce the processing times for most clients and help open fully compliant bank accounts and mobile money wallets in a few minutes.
“The national decashing strategy first starts with providing better payment tools, suited for the needs of the target populations currently excluded from these services and forced to work in the informal sector and to only use cash,” said Anis Kallel.
“We realised that facilitating access to financial services with a 100 per cent free banking offer opened remotely and in under an hour can help contribute to that, on top of the transfer and payment functionalities integrated with Flouci. We would like, through this collaboration with the Central Bank of Tunisia, to allow every financial institution to use this technology, and reduce the cost and time of access to essential financial services. The technology allows it, and the regulations will make it possible at scale.”