For many people, the term “FinTech” might conjure up images of crypto futurists and HODL day traders. But Dania Beach-based startup OneBlinc is challenging this perception. This FinTech company offers financial products geared toward the more than 20% of Americans who, according to the Federal Reserve, are unbanked and underbanked.
This week, OneBlinc launched a new Mastercard debit card alongside a new checking account service. The announcement represents a milestone in the company’s goal to become the “one-stop financial management platform” for this segment of the population, CEO and co-founder Fabio Torelli told Refresh Miami.
OneBlinc primarily helps these consumers by providing them with small loans to help keep them afloat until payday. The company profits off of these loans, but Torelli says it’s an economically beneficial exchange because many consumers would otherwise be forced to pay hefty overdraft fees, or be fined for having insufficient funds in their account.
Traditional banks view customers with low credit scores as risky, ‘subprime’ borrowers. But these credit calculations are not to be trusted, Torelli explained: “Don’t believe in credit scores. They are outdated and have many blind spots.” He’s not alone – this sentiment is echoed by a wide range of politicians, think tank experts, and journalists.
Instead, the OneBlinc team has developed a proprietary, machine learning-powered algorithm that makes lending decisions for itself. “We assess risk by using more than 94 APIs, and the whole process runs in just two minutes,” said Torelli. These inputs include data related to a person’s employment history, debt ratio, net income, and payroll schedule.
So far, most of OneBlinc’s 15,000 customers are either federal employees or healthcare workers. Their median yearly income hovers around $40,000 per year, and they have very low credit scores. The startup has customers in 22 states across the US, with Florida, Georgia, and Texas being their biggest markets.
The partnership with Mastercard was logical for a few reasons. For one, Torelli had worked there as an account manager in his home country of Brazil. He underscored the harmony between the two companies’ overarching goals: “There is a big match in our belief of challenging the status quo and providing a real service to help customers avoid paying predatory fees.”
Half of OneBlinc’s 30-person team are developers. However, Torelli signaled that OneBlinc will double the size of its technical team over the next three months.
That growth stems from the company’s ambitious product development strategy. Next on the roadmap? Cashback. Within a matter of days, OneBlinc plans to start providing customers with a discount of one to five percent on purchases they make at specific retailers.
Since launching in 2018, OneBlinc has received $40 million in debt and equity funding from investors around the US – including Miami – plus Latin America.
Torelli has been in the Miami area for eight years. Torelli called Miami a “vertex” where the US east coast, US west coast, and Latin America meet. “Miami is becoming one of the most relevant centers for innovation in the country.”
Photo at top of post: Some of OneBlinc’s team, from left: Erik Medeiros (Finance); Marco Moreno (Customer Success); Julio Berger (Data Scientist); Ashley Anderson (External Relations). Photos provided by OneBlinc.
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