Recommendation engine Borrowell moves into bill tracking and pay advances

Borrowell, the Canadian financial product recommendation and lending platform reminiscent of Credit Karma, is getting into a subscription model.

The six-year-old company is currently testing a tool called Borrowell Boost that predicts how much customers will have in their bank accounts after bills are paid. Borrowell hopes to make the service available to a broader audience in the near future for a monthly fee, said Andrew Graham, the company’s co-founder and CEO.

Borrowell Boost

“By scanning your bank account and the transactions within it, Boost can predict how your balance is going to change over time,” said Graham. Customers can get a payday advance of up to C$75 (around $58) to help cover bills as they become due.

The Boost pay advance feature, which is interest-free, resembles the cash advances offered by U.S.-based banking platform Dave and employee platform PayActiv. The objective is to appeal to consumers living paycheck to paycheck.

Borrowell Boost uses AI-based predictive technology to scan customers’ spending patterns and determine when their monthly bills are due. The technology takes into account recurring direct deposits and bills that are deducted at regular intervals. Although customers can’t pay bills from the Borrowell platform, the app will give them an idea of what their balance will look like after bills are paid. The company has yet to announce the subscription fee.

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The Borrowell Boost tools have been in beta testing for the past few months. Graham didn’t offer specifics on the scope of the beta test or when when the product will launch.

In addition to the bill tracking, Borrowell offers free credit scores and advice. The platform makes recommendations for financial products like credit cards, bank accounts and mortgages through which the company earns referral fees. Borrowell also generates revenue through its term loans.

The company offers loans of between C$1,000 and C$35,000 ($770 and $27,000) for three or five years. The APR starts at 5.6%, and the average rate is between 11-12%.

Borrowell has raised C$93.7 million ($72.1 million) in total funding, including equity and debt, from investors that include White Star Capital, Portag3 Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank. According to the company, Borrowell’s platform has more than a million users.

While Borrowell doesn’t have nearly as many customers as Los Angeles-based Dave, which has 4 million customers and offers interest-free cash advances of up to $100, its model has growth potential, according to Aite Group senior analyst Leslie Parrish.

She argues that the success of U.S.-based companies like Dave and the budgeting platform Brigit, which offers cash advances of up to $250 with no interest, bodes well for Borrowell Boost’s prospects.

“With many consumers in both countries living paycheck to paycheck, take up should be brisk,” Parrish said.

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