Robust data sets and alternative metrics power a new MasterCard for creditworthy international college students overlooked by traditional scoring models
Palo Alto, CA — March 21, 2016 — SelfScore, a Palo Alto-based fintech startup, has launched the first dedicated MasterCard credit card designed for international college students in the U.S. SelfScore determines creditworthiness using alternative data comprised of the borrower’s education, source of funding, and career prospects — no U.S. credit history required. This credit card is the first in a series of products SelfScore is introducing to meet the financial needs of students overlooked by the traditional FICO scoring model.
SelfScore’s model measures potential — not just risk — when connecting with new borrowers. SelfScore CEO Kalpesh Kapadia elaborates: “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 with the intent of supporting this “deserving, yet underserved” population.
Over one million international students in the U.S. simply have no credit history to demonstrate and are thus considered high-risk customers by lenders using existing scoring models. Citing their $31 billion annual investment into the U.S. economy, as well as international student success stories such as 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 SelfScore CEO Kalpesh Kapadia, who is a former international student. “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 and no security deposit. This is similar to the kind of introductory credit card 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.S.