When Vrinda Gupta was refused a credit card she helped create, she knew something had to change and went on a credit building mission.
Fast forward to today, five years later, and the seasoned businessman is behind Sequin — a discount card that helps women boost their credit scores.
Frinda, who turns 31 this month, worked for Visa for a few years when her credit card application was denied in August 2016.
But it wasn’t until that point that she really started to think about credit and realized that she was primarily using a debit card.
The spending on her credit card was primarily spent on her father’s card as a secondary user.
By doing so, this meant that she had access to the card balance, but since she wasn’t responsible for paying the balance, she wasn’t building her credit history either.
“These credit rating agencies and issuing banks do not take your income into account,” the San Francisco-based businessman told The Sun.
“So even though I was making a decent living by working for Visa, I had a lack of credit history.”
Her situation is similar to that of many women, who are often refused credit, being offered fewer lines of credit and charged higher interest rates.
Determined to close the credit gap for women, Vrinda left Visa in 2018 to attend University of California’s Haas School of Business.
While there, she took a summer MBA internship at design agency IDEO, where she pitched the idea that is now Sequin.
In October 2019, she formally incorporated the company and then started working on it full time in 2020.
The initial idea was to create a “amazing rewards” credit card focused on women, but Vrinda decided to create a new type of debit card that builds credit instead.
She said, “Most of the credit cards on the market today are designed with the male traveler in mind, which is why there are so many travel and dining benefits.
“And I decided it was really important to start building credit, because if I fired that credit card, I’d also probably have to turn down some amazing women because their credit scores weren’t where it should be.
“So I wanted to start as a ramp platform to help these women take credit and really understand the system and set themselves up for success.”
Sequin works by forwarding the funds for the purchase to the merchant on your behalf and then paying the funds to itself by automatically withdrawing the funds from your connected bank account.
It reports these reimbursements to the credit bureaus, which means your credit score should improve.
It’s currently only available to a few hundred women, but you can sign up for a waitlist on its website before launching it more widely next year.
Getting into the male-dominated fintech industry as a woman and first-generation immigrant wasn’t always easy, but Vrinda made it work.
Later, I also brought in a tech co-founder, Mark Thomas, who has 10 years of experience with Paypal.
Frinda added, “My family and I moved to the United States [from India] when I was young.
“My mom has always been my inspiration for this because she has always feared the financial system in the United States, especially credit.
“I felt that if I didn’t do something with my background, my future daughter would be sitting in my same Visa desk somewhere else and have the same experience.”
Vrinda’s Top Tips to Boost Your Credit Score
If you have a bad credit score or no credit history, Vrinda has two main tips.
the first? Make sure you have any credit in your own name so you can improve it with your spending.
Second, she advised consumers to keep their credit usage low, which is the percentage used of your total credit limit.
Credit utilization ratio is one of the main factors that credit reporting agencies and lenders look at.
Using more than 30% of your available credit can lower your score, but Vrinda recommends keeping it under 10% at all times.
She said, “It is really important to make sure that you keep your credit usage below 10% at all times of the month, because you never know when your issuer is going to report your use of the credit bureaus.
“So even if you pay in full and then on time at the end of each month, your credit usage can be reported as too high, affecting your credit.
“As a general rule, paying off your balance once a week versus once a month should get you there unless you’re making some really big purchases.”
We explain how to check your credit score—and four ways to boost it before the end of 2021.
Plus, we reveal why paying off your debt early can lower your credit score — but it’s still a good idea.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for US Sun?