SelfScore has raised over $7 million to aid the nearly 1.1 million foreign students enrolled in universities around the United States as they offer the first credit card exclusively for foreign students.
As Steven Loeb writing for Vator points out, SelfScore is on a mission to solve the credit issues that plague international students. This effort came in part from the exerperiences of Kalpesh Kapadia, CEO and co-founder of SelfScore, who moved to the U.S. in 1995 for graduate school.
SelfScore separates itself from other credit card providers by measuring a student’s potential credit instead of what they have built up. Additionally, a student will be able to build a credit score by using their new credit card.
SelfScore is monitoring who it’s giving these credit cards to, Lora Kolodny writes for Tech Crunch. The company is using social media to see when a borrower is going through a life change and who is the most at risk of not paying off the card.
“These are people who new to credit and new to the country. It’s not that they have bad information or blemishes, it’s that they have a thin file, or no file at all. In terms of credit bureaus, they are misclassified. We help them build a credit history and get on the right financial path,” Kapadia says.
To receive their new credit card, students have to present a form of identification as well as be enrolled in a school on the company’s approved list. Students are not considered high risks due to their very nature of traveling so far for an education:
Michael Hallinan, co-founder, and CPO of SelfScore, said “It’s a matter of fairness. National credit bureaus and scores like FICO are leaving people out of the credit system. We owe it to society to develop open access to quality consumer data and to develop better measures of creditworthiness.”
PYMNTS reports that the goal of SelfScore is to educate international students on the importance of credit as much as it is to help them build it up. Since the launch of its new program, the company has tripled the number of credit card sign-ups every month.
Theresia Gouw, Managing Partner at Aspect Ventures, says “With such rich data at our fingertips, we would be remiss to ignore the analytics available to us today as an alternative credit source to the traditional FICO scoring system. SelfScore’s core mission to level the credit field for international students in the US is not only ingenious, it’s intuitive. Since initially investing in SelfScore, we’ve seen the startup impact a hugely underserved market.”
SelfScore is also offering various tiers of credit which allow the company to see how well the borrowers can handle the new cards and to personalize to what the borrower is comfortable with. Every customer will get a beginner card which has limited credit capabilities and no associated fee. There is some worry over whether borrowers will continue to use their lines of credit as they move up through the tiers.