Neu, the company on a mission to bring financial wellness to all students, today launches the Neu Card, a credit card designed to empower young people to start building credit early without the risk of falling into a debt trap.
Standing out from current options on the market, the Neu Card has no late fees, no compounding interest, 1.25% cash back, and a small monthly subscription fee with a max spending limit of up to $1,000. It also boasts the highest probability of approval for college students amongst any credit card on the market, democratizing access to credit. Co-signers and credit scores are not required (though if you have a credit score, it’ll be used along with other factors to determine credit eligibility), and international students do not need a social security number to apply, removing many of the barriers that often prevent students from getting approved.
To highlight just how much a credit card solution like this is needed, Neu partnered with market research company 3Gem to survey 1,000 students and 1,000 parents of students in college or about to start, finding that almost half of students aged 18-24 do not have a credit card, with 47% citing fear of debt or damaging their credit score as the primary reason.
However, without a foundation of credit history, students and recent graduates consequently struggle in their early 20’s and beyond to do basic tasks like rent an apartment or finance a car. In fact, out of those students surveyed who did already have a credit card, almost 60% said that building their credit score and establishing their credit history was the main reason for applying for their first credit card. And parents agree – 68% of those who had already discussed credit with their child did so because they want them to build credit for the future.
The team behind Neu is led by impact-driven entrepreneur Abhishek Agarwal, who is building on the success of a similar solution for students in India called mPokket (currently available across 50,000 colleges in India). Inspired by his own experience of coming to the U.S. from India as an international college student and being unable to get approved for a credit card for ten years, Agarwal along with co-founders Susan Eliza, Nawal Chadha, and Hemant Wadhwa, hope the Neu Card will encourage young people to take control of their financial futures and make credit easy and simple to access.
“Building credit early is essential to establishing a solid financial future, but it is equally important to ensure that every adult, no matter their age, can easily access credit in the first place,” says Abhishek Agarwal, CEO and Co-Founder of Neu. “Democratizing access is crucial to building financial wellness as early as possible, so every person can be set up for success. This is why the Neu Card was built exclusively with college students in mind, from conception to design to execution, to help them build credit and learn personal finance in a relatively secure way.”
To apply for the Neu Card, users can download the Neu app from the Apple Store or Google Play and follow the simple process to input their information in minutes. All that is required to apply is being over the age of 18 and proof of legal residency in the U.S. (a valid U.S. issued Visa that has six months until it expires will suffice if a user does not have a social security number). Users will then be approved for the $4/month plan with a $200 fixed credit limit or be given the choice to increase their max credit limit to $350-$1000 for a $7/month plan. Both options feature no late fees or interest charges and offer 1.25% cash back on all purchases.
The Neu team is already looking toward the future, with plans to launch additional features, such as higher cash backs and Neu-sponsored discounts at select retail and restaurant establishments around college campuses. Intended to provide a rewards program specifically useful for college students, the cash back and discounts will offset the cost of Neu’s monthly subscription cost.
With their audience firmly in mind, Neu has ensured that students have been part of the process since the beginning, tapping them for internships as well as for in-depth research interviews and learning from their direct feedback. Students can also meet Neu’s ambassadors, called “Neu Friends”, on specific campuses across the country to learn more. Neu Friends are responsible for raising awareness of Neu within their college communities as well as serving as a sort of advisory board to provide direct insights and feedback.