Jump Credit: Credit Counseling Software

Jump Credit makes software that allows non-profit organizations and city governments to offer personalized credit advice to their clients.

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Eligibility

  • I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
  • I am over 18 years of age
  • My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
  • I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
  • My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States

Gender

  • Man

Where are you making a difference?

nationwide

Focus Areas (required)

  • Business & Social Enterprise
  • Development & Prosperity

Date Started

01/28/2018

Organization Type

  • for-profit

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

Budget

  • $10k - $50k

Website or social media URL(s) (optional)

http://www.jumpcredit.org

1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.

Last year I was rejected from a credit card. I wanted to figure out what I could do to improve my score, and so I joined a Facebook where people would ask questions about improving their credit and help one another out. I kept seeing the same question over and over -- "how do I even get started building credit?" I realized there is so much people don’t understand about credit, and how overwhelming a credit report can be. That’s when I first started thinking about using software to make credit advice accessible to all.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The problem is that many people can’t get access to credit, and don’t know what to do about it. Analyzing a credit report is difficult to do: the credit scoring model is a black box, and people have no idea where to get started. Worse, there are a lot of companies online that make false promises on how they can help people improve their score. Nobody has figured out a way to make credit advice available to all in a scalable and affordable way.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Our software allows non-profit organizations and city governments to offer credit counseling services to their clients instantly and with no cost. Our web application takes in a credit report, analyzes it and identifies the issues on the client’s credit report. The software then emails a 1-page action plan to the client with a step-by-step action planning outlining concrete steps they can take to improve their credit situation and score. Our action plan also includes a free credit score estimate and reformats the client's credit report, explaining the complex financial jargon and highlighting the important information.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.

One of the first people we worked with was a woman in early thirties who had been constantly been getting rejected from credit cards, including beginner (secured) credit cards, even though she had never had a credit line before. She had no idea what was causing her to get rejected, but due to a highly variable work schedule wanted the financial flexibility that a credit card provides.

Using our software, we helped her identify that she had a cell phone bill in a collections agency. Although she thought she paid and closed that account many years earlier, the last payment on the account was reported as unpaid. Our software told her who she needed to talk to settle that account, and then recommended that she apply for a secured credit card. Two weeks after we met with her, she texted us announcing that she had gotten approved for her first secured credit card.

5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?

We are distributing our product through non-profit organizations and city governments as these organizations already interact with the people who could benefit from credit advice the most. These organizations serve low-income and economically vulnerable clients through services like financial counseling, free income tax preparation (VITA), legal aid clinics, and other social service programs. Our free software can easily be integrated into any in-person social service touchpoint.

5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:

  • socio-economic class

6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

3 million people annually receive credit counseling through non-profit organizations and city governments. These credit coaching sessions are in person, don't use software, and require ~20 minutes with a trained credit coach.

Our software is free, instant, and requires no credit expertise to help someone. While our software could be used to improve a full 20-minute credit counseling session, it can also be integrated into any social service with minimal resources required.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

From March to May we piloted our software at 5 organizations around the country. These organizations included financial coaching organizations, tax sites, and community development banks. The financial coaches uses our software to add a credit counseling component to their financial coaching workshops. The community development bank uses our software to help their clients improve their credit score to make them eligible for small business loans.

8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?

Next month, we’re opening up our platform to any organization (or individual) that wants to use our product. We’re primarily focused on partnering with non-profit organizations that serve thousands of clients per year and are looking to offer credit counseling.

8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?

  • Large Scale Partnerships

9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We’re planning on offering a paid version to our product to for-profit companies. For example, a company that originates loans might offer a version of our software as a feature to help clients improve their credit score before offering them a line of credit.

10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Ben Molin: Full-time, worked in city government. Key responsibilities: business and software development.
Cole Scanlon: Part-time, co-founded a non-profit organization that provided college advice to hundreds of thousands of people. Key responsibilities: partnerships.

We plan to add another full-time software engineer in the future so that we can quickly add new features to the product (e.g. starting to connect people with credit building financial products).

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 - Which of the following categories do you identify with? (optional)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 - Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities? (optional)

  • No, I do not identify with an underrepresented community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Attachments (1)

Jump Credit .pdf

Credit Action Plan

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