#FinancialInclusion / Fintechs helping immigrants navigate a new financial world

Several fintechs are focusing on working with or helping immigrant communities to improve their credit score, build a credit history and find other people who share the same cultural experience while providing financial tools and resources that empower them.

Kristy Kim founded TomoCredit because she was personally frustrated in her 20s when she attempted to get approved for an auto loan. She was rejected five times because as an immigrant she did not have a credit history… Kim realized there was an opportunity to help other immigrants avoid the same hassle and pain of not having a credit score… Not having a credit history in the U.S. means that companies like Equifax, TransUnion and Experian can not provide a financial score for an individual, leaving them unable to finance a car loan, obtain auto insurance or lease an apartment… Rather than relying on credit scores to assess applicants, TomoCredit looks at a person’s banking history and sources of income to determine eligibility…

Besides immigrants, expatriates are not able to obtain credit because they do not have credit scores when they first move to the U.S. Matt Holden, founder and CEO of Denver-based Black Opal, developed a credit card to address the gap.

“Black Opal is my fourth startup and I really wanted to solve the problem of expats and professionals moving to America and the shock that all of us face which is – you can’t get credit” … Black Opal aims to address this market segment – each year 14 million people arrive in the U.S. … The credit card will be one way for expats to access credit faster and easier since Black Opal will use a person’s home country credit file… “One of the great things about Black Opal is we’re a company built by expats for expats,” Holden said. “We know the pain and want to be that pivotal partner for our customers.”

Another startup working with immigrants is Homeis, a digital platform for immigrant communities around the world that was founded in Tel Aviv and New York … Homeis now has 1 million registered members and offers financial services by partnering with fintech companies, neobanks and financial institutions in the remittance industry to give immigrants a “platform that will solve all of their needs in one place,” said Ran Harnevo, CEO of Homeis. These financial services are being shown in their own language.

“In the last few months we’ve added more and more financial services to Homeis, partnering with the best startups in the space,” he said. “We believe that the fragmentation in the space is a problem to both our users and the service providers.”