Fintech startup Highline launches with $4.5M in funding to provide access to credit for 40 million Americans based on their income rather than credit score
The ongoing pandemic has taken a toll on everyone and made it increasingly difficult for millions of Americans to maintain their financial health. Over 40 million Americans have good jobs but have subprime or no credit scores. These Americans can be lower-income families with a little financial cushion or earners who are simply too busy or inexperienced to pay their bills on time. The burden of juggling money with bills and daily expenses can lead to potentially costly mistakes.
That’s why a group of fintech industry veterans from CapitalOne and Goldman Sachs Marcus have come together to launch Highline, a new payment method and next generation of fintech based on income, not credit score.
Today, Highline announced it has raised $4.5 million in Seed funding led by Foundation Capital and Costanoa Ventures. The fresh capital infusion will enable Highline to continue to grow its team and further build out its platform.
Highline’s goal is to enable Americans to take control of their finances based on their income rather than their credit score. By linking their bill payments to their payroll – versus the current bank account standard – more people can pay their bills on time and in full, which then enables them to access better credit rates and reduce unnecessary fees.
The majority of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, resulting in negative consequences like overdraft fees and missed payments,” stated Geoff Brown, CEO and Founder of Highline. “Highline believes access to better financial solutions begins with reimagining the broken bill payment system.”
Highline’s founding team possesses deep banking and lending experience. COO Darin Cline was a founding team member at Marcus by Goldman Sachs; CEO Geoff Brown most recently was Head of Credit Risk at Salary Finance (payroll-linked personal loans) as well as Head of Pricing at Santander.
“The vast majority of the US consumer lending industry has sought-after payroll-based lending at one time or another,” said Zach Noorani, Partner at Foundation Capital. “But until Highline, it’s simply never been possible to do without selling into each employer individually. This is a huge step forward in terms of credit risk innovation.”
Highline is creating a new and better payment method tied directly to people’s income, rather than their bank accounts, by building direct access to payroll platforms through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Highline helps consumers make sure their bills are paid on time and in the right amounts by automatically routing them from their paychecks.
By making these payments reliable, Highline creates a win-win for both billers and consumers. Consumers avoid overdraft and late fees, gain peace of mind that their bills are being paid on time, and get access to better credit terms, regardless of their credit history. Highline also helps billers and lenders reduce their collection expense, credit losses, and customer churn, enabling them to offer lower interest rates to more people.
“Highline’s approach can play a major role in creating more financial inclusion,” stated Amy Cheetham, Partner at Costanoa Ventures. “Millions of Americans have long been in need of low-cost credit options, and Highline’s experienced team is uniquely positioned to do it.”