Green Dot Launches Secured Credit Card

Today it was announced that Green Dot, a leader in the prepaid space, is launching the Green Dot Platinum Visa Secured Credit Card—a credit card designed specifically to help those without credit build it, or those with low credit scores, build them up.

The company floated news of this card last year. CEO Steve Streit said then that the bank’s underlying tech platform, built for its GoBank account, will allow for rapid iteration of products going forward.

According to President of Green Dot Bank Lew Goodwin, this is more of a problem in the U.S. than one might think—20% of American households, according to Goodwin, are underserved by traditional banks, which subsequently leads to a lack of financial knowledge.

“This [lack] is one of the big challenges out there,” says Goodwin. “It’s really important to use this card to educate, to bring new accounts to them.”

According to Green Dot, just over 108 million Americans either have a low credit score or just don’t have one at all, a problem the company is looking to rectify, at least partially, with this launch. After all, Green Dot knows these customers well. The company, which currently serves about 4 million customers, positions itself as bringing greater financial inclusion to Americans with lower income—under $75,000 a year.

The new Green Dot card works like this: a user puts down a security deposit, held at Green Dot Bank, for any amount between $200 or $1,000 dollars, and that deposit is what backs the user’s credit line. Since this is the case, users who apply for a card don’t have to have high credit scores or even a bank account, which also means just about anyone can get approved.

Additionally, as the user’s payment history on the card will be reported to three major credit bureaus, according to Green Dot, use of this card can actually help holders build a credit history: when the holder’s payment history is a positive one, as with typical credit.

Users don’t even need to have a bank account for the card—at Green Dot Bank, its GoBank account, or otherwise—as users can make both their security deposits and card payments with cash at a Green Dot retail location, which include convenience stores and check-cashing locations.

To learn more about card payments, join us at Bank Innovation Israel in Tel Aviv on Nov. 1-3. Register here

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