Aella Credit Empowering Underbanked Africans Using Amazon Rekognition

Aella Credit, a financial services company based in Lagos wants to help more people in emerging markets access retail banking services by solving the problems of identity verification and seamless validation.

The company provides instant loans to individuals with a verifiable source of income by using biometric and employer data. Aella Credit uses Amazon Rekognition—a deep learning-based image and video analysis service—for biometric identity verification on their mobile application. Rekognition in the app allows customers to verify their identity and get access to banking services seamlessly and with minimal friction.

The service currently works as a personal lender, underwriting loans with a proprietary algorithm (built from over 5 years of market data and analysis) focused on the Nigerian market and integrated with credit bureaus. It processes an applicant’s eligibility for a loan by considering social and demographic factors as well as their debt to income ratio.

CTO and Co-Founder of Aella Credit, Wale Akanbi explains that the ability to properly identify users is a key hindrance in building credit for billions of people in emerging markets and that using Amazon Rekognition for identity verification on their mobile application has reduced verification errors significantly and improved the ability to scale. With the feature, customers upload a photo of their government-issued ID and then take a photo of themselves in real-time for verification. Aella Credit verifies the government-issued ID against the government database and then uses Rekognition to compare the two images to see if they are a match.

“We can now detect and verify an individual’s identity in real time without any human intervention, thereby allowing faster access to our products…Amazon Rekognition helped us effectively recognize faces of our customers in our markets. It also helped us with KYC [know your customer] in discovering overlapping profiles and duplicate datasets.”- Wale Akanbi (CTO, Aella Credit)


In 2017, Aella Credit raised an undisclosed follow-on round of seed funding from investors including 500 Startups and Y Combinator. It has maintained a growing user base and is expanding its capacity in blockchain powered lending.


Opeyemi Olugbemiro

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