Welcome to issue #28 of our recently launched Q&A series, Startup Spotlight.
This series is all about diving into the world-class technological innovation conducted by exciting startups. Getting to grips with the technology, the mission, and even the stories behind them.
Today we interviewed Tim Chong, CEO of Yonder, to find out more about how they're building a credit card with a conscience.
- 💳 Rebuilding the modern credit card from the ground up
- 🍔 Bringing customers closer to their city (right now, in London!)
- 🤑 Building the 'financial membership' of the future
What comes to mind when you think about credit cards? For some, it ain’t pretty…
Mounting debt. Poor credit score. Loyalty rewards that aren’t really loyalty rewards. Hidden charges. Just, bad times.
Unfortunately, over the years, some lenders have been accused of exploiting their customers rather than offering financial products that work for them. Understandably, this leaves a bitter aftertaste.
Yonder has recognised this, re-building the modern credit card in a way that puts their customers back in the driving seat.
This is a different kind of credit card.
One that offers a healthier way of managing your finances. One that rewards you with points you actually want to use on experiences in your city. One that empowers you to spend without friction. One that doesn’t give a monkey’s about your credit score. And, one that doesn’t charge an ounce of commission when you use it abroad.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong.
Yonder is the credit card that cares. It’s so cool, you have to join a waitlist to apply to be a member. That's right, a waitlist for a credit card.
What makes Yonder stand out from the rest of the credit card companies in an already crowded market?
What have been their greatest achievements so far?
And, what are their growth plans?
It’s time to find out. Here we go.👇
What is the mission of your company?
To make money rewarding and credit empowering. In a 2016 trip to Kenya, I was surprised that amidst the rural lifestyle you’d expect out there, people were pulling out their phones and paying for things digitally. This was before fintech was even a thing! This was a story of economic empowerment that changed the trajectory of a nation.
This led me to ClearScore where my co-founders and I had front-row seats to the consumer credit industry, which was a real eye-opener. We started Yonder to shake up this extremely tired industry.
Credit cards were born in the 1960’s and since then, nothing much has changed. People are scared of credit cards, and it's because for decades they have been taken advantage of by big banks and old credit providers.
Too much time in banks is spent focused on their profitability rather than creating financial products that genuinely work for consumers – and we think there’s a better way.
We're building Yonder to help rebuild people's relationship with credit in a way that empowers them to have full control over their financial life and reward them with amazing benefits along the way.
How are you using technology to help solve that problem?
We’ve worked hard to completely rethink the way that credit card rewards work. We've built a leading credit experience with our app and card... forming the foundation of your Yonder membership.
Talking to over 200 people last year, they told us repeatedly that existing reward programs just weren’t doing anything for them. The most innovative part of the Yonder offering is our rewards program – Local Experiences, where our customers get to do the things they love around London as a thank you for using us.
This directly integrates your typical card payment experience with reward redemption – meaning you earn 1 point for every £1 spent, and you can redeem them just by using your card at one of our partners (your favourite restaurants, bars and events in the city) or, you can pay normally and earn extra points on the spot, to be spent whenever you’re ready.
And, we don’t operate like your typical reward schemes. Forget about coupons, codes and being restricted on what time or day you can use them. Just go on the app, check your points balance, choose what you want to do, then go and enjoy it!
And, you won’t get bored of the same old partners. Every month we pick new experiences for our customers to choose from – it’s the gamechanger of rewards. Here's what's available in August!
What's your unique selling point?
As we’ve just covered, our Local Experiences rewards program is in a league of its own. But there’s more!
We offer worldwide comprehensive family travel insurance too. It includes the biggies like: trip cancellation, car hire excess, winter sports and medical expenses. And what really sets it apart is there’s no excess to pay when you make a claim.
We’ve made it more about our customers and their needs and less about jargon and fine print. They don’t need to pay an extra fee or add-on our coverage – this insurance is offered as a complimentary benefit to Yonder members and is effective straight away. And the great thing is, this is all accessible via the app.
You won’t find another credit card like ours. There’s no luring customers in under a false sense of security like the usual culprits, we genuinely care about offering our members a product that treats them fairly and rewards them for choosing Yonder. We offer the best and most transparent credit card rewards.
Check out this video for a little more context:
What have been the greatest challenges to date?
Building a credit business is the combination of risk management, responsible lending, acquisition, branding and product experience. Getting all of these to work seamlessly together is a huge challenge!
What major milestones have you achieved, and what's next!?
We've built a market-leading credit card experience that our members truly love, with a majority of our members logging in to the App and using their Yonder cards daily.
We're at an NPS of 77 and our members love the way we're helping them discover the best of London.
Our plan is to continue investing in our product experience to expand the way our members can discover the city, and spend with Yonder.
To join the waitlist, sign up here.
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