WHEN Vrinda Gupta was denied the credit card she helped create, she knew something had to change and began a credit-building quest.
Fast-forward to today, 5 years later, the savvy entrepreneur is behind Sequin – a debit card that helps women boost their credit scores.
Vrinda, who turned 31 this month, had been working at Visa for a few years when she was turned down for credit in August 2016.
But it wasn’t until then that she really started thinking about credit and realized that she mostly used debit cards.
Her credit card spending mainly relies on her father’s card as a secondary user.
By doing that, it means she has access to the card’s credit, but since she’s not responsible for paying the balance, she doesn’t build up her credit history either.
The San Francisco-based entrepreneur told The Sun: “These credit scoring agencies and issuing banks don’t take your income into account.
“So even though I made a decent living working at Visa, I just lacked a credit history.”
Her situation is similar to that of many women, who are more frequently denied credit, are offered lower lines of credit and receive higher interest rates.
Determined to close the credit gap for women, Vrinda left Visa in 2018 to go to the University of California Haas School of Business.
While there, she did a summer internship with an MBA at the design firm IDEO, where she came up with the concept that is now Sequin.
In October 2019, she officially founded the company and then started working full-time in 2020.
The original idea was to create a credit card with “awesome rewards” focused on women, but Vrinda decided to create a new type of debit card to replace credit.
“Most of the credit cards on the market today are designed with men in mind, and that’s why there are so many travel and dining benefits,” she said.
“And I decided that it was really important to start with building credit, because if I were to roll out this credit card, I’d probably have to turn down some amazing women because of my credit score. Their use is not at the necessary level.
“So I wanted to start as a journey to help these women gain credibility and really understand the system and set themselves up for success.”
Sequin works by forwarding purchases to merchants on your behalf and then paying them back by automatically withdrawing funds from your connected bank account.
It reports those refunds to the credit bureaus, which means your credit score should improve.
It’s currently only available to a few hundred women, but you can sign up waitlist on its website before launching more widely next year.
Entering the male-dominated fintech industry as a woman and first-generation immigrant isn’t always easy, but Vrinda has made it a success.
Then she also brought on a technical co-founder, Mark Thomas, who had 10 years of experience at Paypal.
Vrinda added: “Me and my family moved to the US [from India] when I was young.
“My mother has always been an inspiration to me about this because she was always really scared about the financial system in America, especially credit.
“I feel like if I don’t do something with my resume, my future daughter will be sitting at the same table as me at Visa somewhere else having the same experience.”
Top Vrinda Tips to Boost Your Credit Score
If you’re struggling with a poor credit score or lack of credit history, Vrinda has two key pieces of advice.
The first one? Make sure you have any credit in your own name so you can improve it as you spend it.
Second, she advises consumers to keep their credit utilization low, which is the percentage used of your overall credit line.
Credit utilization ratio is one of the key factors that credit reporting agencies and lenders consider.
Using more than 30% of your available credit can lower your score, but Vrinda recommends always staying less than 10%.
“It’s really important to make sure you keep your credit usage under 10% at all times of the month, because you don’t know when the issuer will report usage,” she says. your application to the credit bureaus.
“So even if you’re paying in full and on time at the end of each month, your credit usage could be reported as too high, which affects your credit.
“As a general rule, paying off your credit once a week versus once a month will usually get you there unless you’re making some really big purchases.”
Plus, we reveal why it’s important to pay off debt early may cause your credit score to drop – but it’s still a good idea.
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https://www.the-sun.com/money/4240953/launched-debit-card-rejected-credit-sequin/ I was denied for credit