In the case of the unbanked, most people simply don't trust the intentions and internal process of big banks and refuse to use their services. In the case of the underbanked, some don't trust big banking entities, or they don't know how to use new-age online banking systems.
The underbanked, however, often have bad credit and have no way of fixing their credit score. In other words, they want a loan for a house, car, or business, but the banks won't provide it.
"It's a problem in our society, I think. A big problem. One that our business intends to solve. Just because you've had bad credit at one point in your life doesn't mean you should be punished for the rest of your life," says Justin Wu, co-founder Rebl. "We're setting out to change the way that people think about building their credit score. It doesn't have to be this painful, difficult process. It can be simple. We're going to make it simple."
And it seems like they might just pull it off.
A new way to responsibly manage & build credit
To solve the problem of bad credit, Rebl will qualify users based on the assets they own, the money they make, and the bills they already pay. Credit card limits are based on each person's cash flow and what they can most likely afford (rather than the exorbitant limits that big banks provide).
Additionally, Rebl will not charge the user interest or fees, but will charge the merchant a small fee for each purchase instead. And applying for Rebl will not affect the consumer's credit score.
All in all, Rebl is setting out to solve a problem that between 20% and 25% of all U.S. citizens are experiencing, one that Rebl's founders map to be a $8.1 billion opportunity. They're betting that credit-isolated consumers will flock to the opportunity to build their credit and regain full access to the good-credit benefits of big banking institutions.
A company born from bad experience
The co-founders, Justin Wu and Varun Villiat, want to make Rebl a more ethical credit card, motivated by Varun's personal experience with his first credit card.
"I remember getting my first credit card while in college. I got a limit offer that was way more than my ability to pay it off. All of a sudden, having access to this 'free money,' I bought stuff I never was able to afford beforehand...but when the bill came due after finishing my semester job and being off for the summer, I wasn't able to pay and that torched my credit. It took a long time to recover from that," says Varun.
It's no wonder, then, that Rebl aims to build "something that really supports consumers. The current market is full of predatory products such as credit cards and loans with high limits, fees and high-interest rates that lock individuals into a losing battle. We're going to change that."
Rebl won't solve every problem in the banking or credit card world, to be sure. But they're planning to make a big splash. "We're going to launch at the end of 2019, and we're determined to create a credit card that works for consumers, rather than trying to trap consumers. We're expecting to make a big difference," Justin explains.
Will they? When they launch at the end of 2019, we'll find out.