SelfScore: Analytics based lending to deserving but underserved

Date:   Friday , October 23, 2015

The seeds of what would become SelfScore were planted when Kalpesh Kapadia was denied access to the U.S. credit, which slowed down the initial years of his career. Although things worked out in my case but what about those who get stuck at that point? Questions a very thoughtful Kapadia, CEO and Co-Founder, SelfScore. Maybe we\'ll miss the next CEO of Microsoft or Google (both happen to have been international students) because they couldn\'t afford to stay here or bureaucracy forced them back home.

Based in Palo Alto, CA, SelfScore is starting with offering credit cards to international students through a special approval process that goes beyond standard credit scoring. The fact that a large majority of students lack credit history or credit score, which traditionally categorizes them as thin file or no file credit candidates, tends to put them in invisible category with the credit card companies.To address these challenges, SelfScore intends to provide access to a range of financial products for the deserving but underserved population starting with international students in the U.S.By focusing on millennials, especially international students in American universities, we can optimize our marketing and product development efforts, says Kapadia.

SelfScore measures the international students creditworthiness using alternative data and methods, which include using proprietary frameworks and algorithms designed to help students make the right choices about credit. SelfScore determines the students\' ability to repay using predictive attributes such as education, major, cost of education, source of initial funding, and future employability. SelfScore\'s compliance framework has also been developed to meet the requirements set forth by the law,and its enhanced identity verification and consistent lending practices are major points of demarcation. The entire process, from awareness and application to underwriting and servicing accounts, is optimized for use in any mobile device.Taking advantage of big data and the tools available to analyze it, we\'re using non-traditional predictors for creditworthiness,says Kapadia. The process includes factoring their social and professional graphs in addition to their skills and assets, into a comprehensive proprietary credit analysis.

\"Our biggest asset when we compete with other U.S. creditcard companies is the sense of community and relatability to our audience,\" says Kapadia. Being a lean company, SelfScore aims to provide a wide array of financial advice and study aids for the betterment of international students in the U.S.Every new product that SelfScore creates has a value attached to it. \"We\'re going to look closely at the data we get from our users as they interact with each other and give us feedback, says Kapadia.

Going forward, SelfScore plans to develop a credit system that is dynamic and doesn\'t just rely on an arbitrary backward looking number. \"We want to provide access to credit and other financial products to other deserving audiences beyond international students. We want users to have the kind of friction-less mobile experience that they expect from Amazon or Facebook,\" says Kapadia. This methodology makes the on-boarding experience as lightweight and effortless as possible and the approval process as inclusive as possible. The company intends to enhance its user experience by provide users with a powerful platform that includes a complete overview of their finances and educates them on personal finance in a fun and informative way.Longer term, SelfScore wants to become a launch pad and ultimate resource for young people to establish credit and build their financial future. We will continue to grow in that direction.