US media company Urban One has opened a digital bank account that rewards users for shopping at black-owned businesses.
The media brand primarily targets Black Americans and urban consumers in the United States. The ONE VIP account extends the firm's influence into financial services, offering a mobile app and associated rewards-based debit card for cash withdrawals, retail and online purchases.
The cards promote a Buy Black initiative that offers users additional loyalty rewards for shopping with 25 Black-owned brands. Points can be redeemed either for cashback or used as a donation to the Urban One Community Works Foundation (U1CW), which props up selected charities supporting people of color.
"We are excited to take the lead and be the first African American owned company to provide this kind of financial solution for Black consumers," says Jon Round, Urban One's SVP of financial services. "This digital financial solution and rewards programme allows us to provide access, flexibility, and empowerment to our consumers, and helps to circulate black dollars in the black community."
The ONE VIP Visa Prepaid Card is issued by Stride Bank.
The launch comes as the Black Lives Matter movement forces financial services firms to grapple with their role in America's racial wealth gap. Urban One will soon be joined by Greenwood, a digital banking platform for Black and Latinx people and business owners, set up by civil rights legend Andrew Young and rapper Killer Mike, which earlier this month raised $3 million in seed funding.