While the rate of immigration to the U.S. may have slowed dramatically of late, there are millions of American (or soon-to-be Americans) that are recent newcomers and may find creating a banking relationship difficult and confusing.
They may be confused because of the account opening requirements and legal jargon. It may be difficult because credit scores, national IDs, and other personal data is unavailable or not usable in the U.S. While some financial institutions specialize in serving the needs of this market, fintech organizations are jumping in as they think they can better serve more individuals.
Tearsheet put together a list of organizations doing just that. Unsurprisingly, many of the companies are also suppling money remittance services:
Passbook by Remitly: Money transfer firm Remitly recently launched Passbook, a banking product that targets immigrants. Users can sign up for a bank account and a Visa debit card with no foreign transaction fees — without having to provide a Social Security number. Passbook users will also be able to use Remitly’s remittance service at preferred pricing terms. Remitly has raised over $420 million to build out international money transfer services for immigrant populations.
Transferwise: The leading international money transfer firm has built a business off of helping people move money across borders quickly and cheaply. Transferwise users in the US now have access to a debit card for their Borderless accounts, which enables them to store, send, and receive foreign funds — much like a bank account. The fintech firm is also increasingly working with banks to provide similar functionality to their clients.
Nova Credit: Nova Credit ports over international credit history to help new immigrants access the US financial system. The company recently scored a partnership with American Express to provide expats and immigrants in the US with translations of their foreign credit scores to US standards.
Petal: Petal is one of the few credit cards that doesn’t require a credit score for new applicants. It uses algorithms that look at alternative data to establish creditworthiness. The card is fee-free and helps holders build up their credit scores over time.
Credit Stacks: The Credit Stacks Mastercard is designed for expats moving the U.S. People new to life in the States can apply for a card 60 days before they arrive, so the card is waiting for them. The card also helps them establish and build a credit history in the U.S.
Majority: Majority is a recently-launched challenger bank for migrants. It offers an FDIC-backed account with a Visa debit card. Account holders get money transfers and international calls for free. The company charges $5 per month for membership.
Deserve: Deserve‘s growth trajectory began when it carved out a niche providing credit cards to foreign students. The company has expanded its product suite, including providing credit cards as a service. Its EDU product, which is designed for students, offers Amazon Prime Student free for a year and a $0 annual fee. No social security number is required to apply.
Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group