Friends and Family Are VITAL to Your Credit Health

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Photo Credit: VITAL

This year, consumer prices have risen the most in four decades while the cost of a mortgage has more than doubled. As such, there’s little doubt that, in 2023, many Americans will be forced to rely on credit for everyday purchases and tap the equity in their home for larger ones.

“The cost will vary widely depending on credit scores,” according to Chris Bridges, founder and CEO of fintech VITAL, which will soon issue the first credit card for the content creator economy. “Now is the time for Americans to get serious about their credit health, and VITAL aims to give them a head start.”

Leveraging friends and family

Bridges believes that banking in the age of social media means building a community — not just a brand. “By ‘community,’ we don’t mean people who happen to live in the same neighborhood, or shop at the same stores,” he says. “We envision a global community where members lift each other up, while expanding their own financial horizons and raising their credit scores.”

To that end, VITAL’s platform is based on a revenue share model that reserves 1% of the total community “spend” each month and gives it back to the community in the form of a “referral” game, in which members refer the app to friends and family members. “Your referral score determines how much cash you get every month,” Bridges explains. “The more you share, the higher your score and the larger piece of the 1% cash-back pie you get.”

As consumers become familiar with VITAL’s benefits, Bridges hopes that they will share — a lot. What Bridges calls VITAL’s “cache of rewards” includes not only referral cash but also the chance to earn 2 or 3% cash back on all spending for three-month periods. The company estimates that if one customer refers 10 friends and/or family members, who then refer four of their friends, rewards could exceed $500 per month.

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Passively improve your credit health

Once those friends and family members join the VITAL community, they are also classed in credit health, in the form of personalized tips and tools to build their credit score, a process the company refers to as “toning.” Bridges says that the app will celebrate progress along with its members by giving them credit health rewards, including personalized credit analyses, milestone awards, cash awards for smart financial decisions, and cash for credit card increases.

Another essential part of VITAL’s health credit program is what the company promises to not to do. “We have designed a credit card that will raise your credit score, rather than your monthly payments,” Bridges promises. “That’s why our cardholders will never be charged an annual fee, a late fee, or any of those hidden charges that tend to sabotage building credit health. We want to succeed together.”

Gamification meets innovation

Indeed, rather than financial land mines, VITAL’s members can expect gems in the form of fun, gamified incentives. “We think that gamification can get people to make better financial decisions, not just spend more money,” says Bridges, who is also a 15-year fintech veteran and avid tech fan. “By making better decisions, our members improve their credit health even more, which lowers their cost of borrowing and increases their ability to save. Overall, it’s a win/win/win scenario.”

VITAL’s main “credit score” game works by linking members’ bank accounts and credit cards with the VITAL app. As they spend, VITAL’s algorithm analyzes patterns — which it calls “VITAL signs” — and sends suggestions in real-time on how to improve credit health. Bridges promises that gamification makes improving one’s behavior painless, even fun, and everyone who avoids the punishment of a low credit score will feel like a winner.

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“The way that these scores are calculated is a closely-guarded secret and the credit bureaus can change their algorithm at any time,” Bridges says. “But because we are gathering so much data, our app can sleuth the credit scoring system in real-time, sending our members actionable information without them having to do any research, all while they are earning rewards. Applying may be the hardest part, but we’ve made that remarkably easy. Unlike many credit cards these days, we want to be inclusive, not exclusive.”

To be the first to apply for a VITAL card, visit https://beta.vitalcard.com/comingsoon.html.

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