Robust data sets and alternative metrics power a new MasterCard for creditworthy international students overlooked by traditional scoring models
PALO ALTO, Calif., March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — SelfScore, a Palo Alto-based fintech startup, has launched the first dedicated MasterCard credit card designed for international students in the U.S. By utilizing unique analytics and robust data sets including a borrower’s education, source of funding, and career prospects, SelfScore identifies creditworthy international students who are otherwise labeled as “thin-file” or “no-file” credit seekers. This credit card is the first in a series of products introduced by SelfScore to meet the financial needs of students overlooked by the traditional FICO scoring model.
SelfScore is the latest in a string of fintech startups like Simple and SoFi creating financial alternatives catering to the millennial population. SelfScore’s model is based on CEO Kalpesh Kapadia’s motivation to “measure potential, not just risk,” when connecting with new borrowers: “International students are granted access to the U.S. educational system. However, they’re not offered a clear on-ramp to financial success. Providing that on-ramp is our intention.” Kapadia, a former international student who created a career in the U.S., started SelfScore to support this “deserving, yet underserved” population.
Over one million international students in the U.S. have no credit history and are considered high-risk customers by existing scoring models. Citing their $31 billion investment into the U.S. economy as well as international student success stories like Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, SelfScore’s confidence in this population is its calling card. “The college campus is America’s new Ellis Island,” says Kapadia. “The Statue of Liberty’s motto is no longer, ‘Bring us your tired, your hungry, your sick.’ It’s, ‘Bring us tomorrow’s doctors, inventors, and CEOs.'”
The SelfScore MasterCard is a credit card with no annual fee, no security deposit, and no U.S. credit history required. This is similar to introductory credit cards that American citizens can easily obtain. Customers can manage payments and view their account balance via an online dashboard. Credit limits for new users are available up to $1,500.*
To apply, visit www.selfscore.com/apply-student-credit-card.
SelfScore opens the U.S. financial system to deserving but underserved audiences using alternative metrics and data. In 2016, we’re connecting international students with fair credit before expanding into other products and populations. SelfScore is a venture-backed financial startup whose investors include Accel Partners, Aspect Ventures, Fenway Summer Ventures and Pelion Venture Partners. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, subscribe to our newsletter, The Score, and check out the latest news on our frequently updated blog. Accounts issued by Celtic Bank, a Utah Chartered Industrial Bank, Member FDIC.
*Restrictions apply. New borrowers must be in the continental U.S. at the time of application. Card is only available for purchases inside the U.