- Credible users rely on credit cards even more than the general population, so we want to ensure they’re using the right cards for their situation
- Credit card rewards today offer exceptional opportunities for qualified people to earn rewards, so everyone should take advantage responsibly
- Many young people aren’t yet using credit cards, so we want to help educate them on how to use credit cards responsibly
Unveiling the first phase of our new credit card marketplace
When we started Credible almost five years ago, our goal was simple: to bring transparency to the confusing world of student loans. We built our marketplace so people could understand the student loan options available to them, and confidently pick the right loan for them.
That principle — transparently and honestly providing people with information necessary to make thoughtful choices about their financial products — serves as the foundation for our latest undertaking: credit cards.
Today we’re thrilled to unveil the first phase of our new credit card marketplace, here. A lot more is coming in the months ahead, but for now, you can compare cards, learn the perks each card offers and apply for whatever suits you best. Soon, you’ll also be able to determine the dollar value of rewards and optimize your wallet based on your spending activities.
Why credit cards?
It’s pretty straightforward. Connecting our users to the right student loans, whether they’re refinancing or getting one for the first time, sets them on a better financial path.
But student loans are just one part of our users’ financial picture. As our loan marketplace took off, we started asking ourselves, what other financial products play a big role in our users’ lives, and how can we help them make better choices with those, too?
So we turned to our users. We looked at how they earn, spend and save money. And one thing struck us pretty quickly. At a rate higher than the general population, our users rely on credit cards.
Our users have 3.4 cards on average, and when they carry a balance, they carry about $6,600. A study from the credit reporting company Experian found that the general adult population averages 2.35 cards with about $5,500 in balances.
But something else stood out, too
Our users have credit scores higher than average, which means they’re making payments on time, spending under their credit limits, and acting responsibly in other ways with their credit cards, even while maintaining those higher balances. That positions them well to take advantage of some of the best cards available.
Credit cards are now offering unprecedented rewards to qualified consumers. Banks spent twice as much on credit card rewards in 2016 than they did in 2010. Growing numbers of cards now provide 2 or even 2.5% flat-rate cash back on purchases, when they used to top out at one percent. Sign up bonuses are significant. The New York Times describes the competition to lure customers with increasingly lavish rewards as an “arms race.”
If you’re credit worthy, it’s a buyer’s market to take advantage of these offers and effectively earn money, in the form of cash back, points for travel, or other perks, that credit cards offer. We want Credible users to get back every penny possible on their spending.
But it’s not just about our current users. Although growing numbers of people own and use credit cards, when we looked just at young people, people likely not yet familiar with Credible, we found lots of them — as many of two-thirds, studies show — have no credit card at all.
There’s a big opportunity, we believe, to educate younger people especially, about the benefits of credit cards and connect them with the right cards for their situation, perhaps for the first time. They can start building their credit histories and maybe earn something extra when they spend responsibly. A good place to start that spending is by charging some of the $10,000 they spend annually on dining out, groceries, clothing and entertainment, expenses many young people pay for in cash already.
Now, we know lots of our users and others aren’t yet financially healthy enough to qualify for the most generous cards. No matter your creditworthiness, when you use a credit card it should be the absolute best card available to you.
Building a better way for people to find the right credit cards
So that’s the thinking that went into deciding to offer what we think will ultimately be a better way for people to find and choose the right credit cards. Navigating the thousands of cards out there is no small feat. We hope that what works in our loan marketplace — creating a user-friendly one-stop-shop that educates people on loans and helps them pick the right ones — also makes our credit card marketplace an effective and trusted resource.
Take a look and let us know what you think of it so far. We’re just getting started.