WHEN Vrinda Gupta was turned down for a credit card she helped create, she knew something had to change and set out on a credit building mission.
Fast forward to today, five years later, the savvy entrepreneur is behind Sequin – a debit card that helps women improve their credit scores.
Vrinda, who turns 31 this month, had worked at Visa for a few years when she was rejected for the credit card in August 2016.
But it wasn’t until then that she really started to think about credit and realized that she mostly used a debit card.
His credit card spending was mostly made on his father’s card as a secondary user.
By doing this, it meant that she had access to the credit on the card, but since she was not responsible for paying the balance, she was also not building her credit history.
The San Francisco-based entrepreneur told The Sun: âThe credit rating agencies and these issuing banks don’t take your income into account.
“So even though I made a decent living working at Visa, I was just missing a credit history.”
Her situation is similar to that of many women, who are more frequently turned down for 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 attend the Haas School of Business at the University of California.
There, she did an MBA summer internship at the IDEO design agency, where she presented the idea that is now Sequin.
In October 2019, she officially incorporated the company and started working full time there in 2020.
The original idea was to create a credit card with âamazing rewardsâ targeting women, but Vrinda decided to create a new type of debit card that creates credit instead.
She said, âMost credit cards on the market today are designed for male travelers, which is why there are so many travel and dining benefits.
“And I decided that it was really important to start with building credit, because if I was throwing this credit card, maybe I should reject some amazing women as well because their credit scores weren’t there. where they should be.
“So I wanted to start as a ramp to help these women get credit, really understand the system, and prepare for success.”
Sequin works by transferring the purchase money to the merchant on your behalf, then reimburses itself by automatically withdrawing money from your connected bank account.
It reports these repayments 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 for a waitlist on its website ahead of its wider launch next year.
Entering a male-dominated fintech industry as a female and first-generation immigrant hasn’t always been easy, but Vrinda has succeeded.
She later also brought in a technical co-founder, Mark Thomas, who has 10 years of experience with Paypal.
Vrinda added, âMy family and I moved to the United States [from India] When I was young.
âMy mom was always my inspiration for this because she always had a real fear of the financial system in America, especially credit.
“I felt that if I didn’t do something with my background, then my future daughter would be sitting in my same office at Visa elsewhere and have the same experience.”
Vrinda’s Top Tips for Boosting Your Credit Score
If you’re struggling with a bad credit or a lack of credit history, Vrinda has two main tips.
The first? Make sure you have credit in your name so you can improve it as you spend.
Second, she advised consumers to keep their credit usage low, which is the percentage of your overall line of credit used.
One of the key factors that credit bureaus and lenders look at is the rate of credit utilization.
Using more than 30% of your available credit can lower your score, but Vrinda recommends keeping it even lower below 10% at all times.
She said: âIt’s really important to make sure that you keep your credit usage below 10% at all times of the month because you don’t know when your issuer is going to report your usage to the credit bureaus.
âSo even if you pay in full and then on time at the end of each month, your credit usage may be reported as too high, which affects your credit.
âAs a general rule of thumb, paying off your credit once a week instead of once a month should usually get you there, unless you’re making really big purchases. “
We show you how to check your credit score – and four ways to improve it before the end of 2021.
Plus, we reveal why paying off your debt early could lower your credit rating, but it’s still a good idea.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for the US Sun team?