Data on Non-Prime Credit Card Users Points to Need for Alternative Scoring

  • Grace Noto
  • March 7, 2017
  • 0

More than 70% of non-prime credit card users cited an inability to put a $500 expense on their credit cards.

The results of a new study, released by Elevate yesterday, show that non-prime users are at a strict credit disadvantage as opposed to prime users (non-prime being those with a Fico credit score below 700, with prime at or above this figure).

“People think that non-prime means financially disadvantaged, which is not what it means at all,” said Jonathan Walker, executive director at Elevate‘s Center for New Middle Class research. “At least 10% to 15% of non-prime customers make over $100,000 a year; what non-prime means is that they are at a credit disadvantage.”

According to Walker, these non-prime users could be financially healthy individuals who stumbled into unforeseen expenses that had an effect on their credit scores.

This exact issue is what opened doors for alternative credit scoring. Fintechs, such as Upstart, use data analysis and machine learning in order to provide alternative underwriting services to those who might be under-served or overlooked by traditional means.

Another example is the newly-launched Float. “We don’t do any hard pulls, and the decision is based on your spending behavior, and how you manage your money, which we derive from the transactions, when you connect Float to your bank,” CEO Max Klein explained.

According to Elevate data, an estimated 44% of the U.S. population are non-prime, a figure that has jumped in recent years since the 2008 recession.

According to the study, a small number of non-prime users (7% of those surveyed) have intentionally used the overdraft function of their cards as a credit product in order to cover an expense; as opposed to accidentally going over the limit.

Additionally, only 36% of the respondents indicated that they would be able to borrow the money for a $500 expense from a friend or a family member.

“The [low] percentage of those who can borrow from friends and family just shows to highlight the challenges they have,” said Walker. “These challenges can lead to significant financial crises.”

  Like This Post

Leave a Reply