Announcing Deserve, the first credit card designed for Generation Z with the goal of granting more Americans access to fair credit products and a path to financial independence. T
The company, which uses machine learning instead of just relying on FICO to determine credit-worthiness, is also announcing $12 million in funding led by Accel, with participation from Aspect Ventures, Pelion Ventures, Mission Holdings, Alumni Venture Group and GDP Venture.
According to findings from Experian, Generation Z accounts for 25 percent of the US population and is projected to make up 40 percent of consumers by 2020. Experian also reports that members of Generation Z are more likely to pay off their monthly balances, and have higher average credit scores, than millennials aged 21-27, illustrating the value Generation Z places on financial independence. This tech-savvy demographic is more apt at researching and understanding the basics of financial stability, and is aware of how challenging it is to obtain a credit card without previous access to credit.
The Deserve card was designed to help the more than 1 in 3 Americans (18 - 29) without a credit card gain access to credit even if they don’t qualify for traditional lending based on the FICO system. FICO is based on your credit history, which young people who are just starting out naturally lack. Deserve uses a proprietary algorithm to predict credit potential instead of simply assessing credit history by using consumer attributes such as education, current financial health, and future employability. The first step in every journey of building credit and reaching financial independence is access. Deserve provides customers with that access and the tools they need to become financially independent.
“Access to credit and financial literacy are the building blocks of financial success and stability in the United States,” said Sameer Gandhi of Accel. “We believe Deserve’s application of machine learning is a big opportunity to evolve past the antiquated FICO system in a technologically sophisticated way.”
Deserve has designed compelling rewards tailored to the lifestyles and needs of Generation Z. Applicants who qualify for the Deserve Edu card can get prime level benefits without a prior credit history or a cosigner.
18-month subscription to Amazon Prime Student, with access to thousands of Prime Video titles, two million songs on Prime Music, and over 1,000 Prime Reading titles
1% cashback on all purchases
No annual fee
No security deposit required
No fees on foreign transactions
For international students, an SSN is not required
As customers build their credit score, they can upgrade to the Deserve Pro Mastercard that features 3% cashback on travel and entertainment, 2% cash back on restaurants, and 1% unlimited cash-back on all other purchases. Along with access to relevant rewards, a customer’s credit journey will be managed through behavioral data related to usage and payments. This framework puts customers on a fast-track to building credit and qualifying for even better products and services over time. Applicants with credit experience may apply for Deserve Pro directly if desired.
“When I immigrated to America in 1995, one of the hardest parts of settling down in a new country was my lack of financial security and independence,” said Kalpesh Kapadia, founder and CEO of Deserve. “A credit card is one of many tools that was not accessible to me. This is why I wanted to implement technology that rethinks the process for offering access to fair and simple credit. Deserve represents that mission.”
The startup optimized its model to assess credit for over 100,000 international students in the past two years under the name SelfScore. Now, in addition to changing their brand to Deserve, the company is expanding its audience to all 20 million college students and another 20 million young adults in the United States.
The Deserve team is made up of former Apple, Paypal and financial institution leaders who all experienced first-hand the value of establishing credit while obtaining an education at the following universities across the US: Boston University, Brigham Young University, Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve, College of Saint Benedict, Columbia University, Creighton University, CSU East Bay, Dharmsinh Desai University, Fordham University, Georgetown University, Harvard Business School, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, ITT Bombay, ITT Madras, Mary Baldwin University, Miriam College, MIT, New Jersey Institute of Technology, New York University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, San Francisco State University, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stony Brook University, UC Berkeley, UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UCLA, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, University of Chicago, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, University of Mumbai, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Dallas and Wheaton College.