Many households are facing staggering credit card debt, but fintech firm SoFi says its newly issued credit card could help with that.
The company says its first credit card promotes healthy financial habits and delivers on its mission to “help people get their money right.” The card, on Mastercard’s network, has no annual fee and provides up to 2 percent unlimited cashback when redeemed into SoFi Money or SoFi Invest accounts.
The two percent rate also applies when the rewards are used to pay down SoFi Student Loans or SoFi Personal Loans. The card launched last week with a small number of SoFi members. Consumers interested in the card can get on a waitlist for when the card membership is fully open.
‘Holistic, healthy money habits’
Company executives say the card is aimed at helping consumers chip away at the $14.3 trillion in consumer debt with rewards that are most valuable when used to pay off debt. Other options include investing the rewards or saving for a rainy day.
"Based on feedback from our members, we designed a credit card that helps our members pay down debt or invest in the future with every purchase while building holistic, healthy money habits," said SoFi CEO Anthony Noto. "Through simply using the SoFi Credit Card and following the same daily spending patterns that our members do today, we are making 'getting your money right' the most intuitive and convenient choice."
Cardholders who carry a balance on the card will also be rewarded if they use the card responsibly, the company says. The interest rate on balances will go down by 1 percent after 12 straight on-time credit card payments and will remain at that level as long as on-time payments continue.
According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. consumers were carrying $1.08 trillion in credit card debt in the third quarter of 2019. That made up a little over 26 percent of consumers’ total debt at the time.
The growth of fintech
SoFi is one of the growing number of fintech firms that are providing financial services directly to consumers by using technology to provide many of the services traditionally associated with banks. The companies tend to be favored by younger consumers.
SoFi was founded in 2011 by four students at the Stanford Graduate School of business. One of the principal aims was to provide a more affordable student loan product.
"SoFi continues to create thoughtful and innovative products to empower its members to pay down debt and improve their financial lives," said Linda Kirkpatrick, president, U.S. Issuers at Mastercard. "We are proud to build upon our relationship with SoFi and work closely to arm their members with benefits and features that are directly relevant and meaningful to their lives."