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When heading to college one of the milestones for some students is getting a credit card.
SelfScore, a Palo Alto-based startup, is launching a MasterCard just for international students studying in the U.S. What makes this card different is that it’s designed just for these students, who typically do not have a credit history, and who might otherwise be denied a card.
There is no annual fee or security deposit for the new SelfScore MasterCard, which offers credit limits up to $1,500.
SelfScore is using its technology to gauge creditworthiness rather than FICO scores. The financial tech company is using using a combination of analytics and robust data sets, which for non-techies means mining different aspects of the applicant’s credit history including their education, source of funds and career prospects. These methods let them find creditworthy international students that more traditional companies might consider to be "thin-file" or "no-file" credit seekers when using the FICO model to score them.
The SelfScore Student MasterCard credit card is just one of many cards that they will be rolling out in the future using these same tech-fueled methods. The credit cards will be issued by Celtic Bank, a Utah Chartered Industrial Bank, which is a member of the FDIC.
Tech for Millennials
In recent years there have been a few financial tech startups including SoFi and Simple, that specialize in designing financial alternatives that specifically appeal to Millennials.
SelfScore uses technology that CEO Kalpesh Kapadia explains is capable of being able to "measure potential, not just risk," when looking for new customers. This new focus developed by SelfScore is seen as a way to level the playing field for these students.
"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, " says Kapadia, who is a former international student.
SelfScore is looking to give undeserved populations access to the U.S. financial system. It is a venture backed company, with investors including Accel Partners, Aspect Ventures, Fenway Summer Ventures and Pelion Venture Partners.