A Bethesda, Md.–based fintech startup is looking to combine the rewards of credit cards with the financial discipline of debit cards.
When it comes to debit cards that link directly to a checking account, Debx CEO Ben Psillas said he likes the immediate payment and consumer protections, but he’s always felt a “negative reinforcement” because they don’t offer points or rewards. Meanwhile, credit cards have those rewards, but they also have monthly bills and late fees. Plus, there’s the debt.
The startup’s mobile app, which launched in March, allows users to set up and manage daily payments on credit cards. That way, they can pay off credit purchases right away, Psillas said. Users link their credit and checking accounts. Then, they set “rules” effectively meaning “you tell us when to pay off daily” or leave purchases on the credit card, Psillas said. So while it brings payoff that doesn’t have to be set every month, the tool still has a “shutoff valve” to prevent over drafting.
“The rules are very important because it gives consumers the control for how to automate rewards but get fiscal discipline,” said Psillas.
Previously, Psillas was the founder of founded surcharge-free ATM company Allpoint, which was acquired by Cardtronics. On this company, he said he’s been working with a team of three others over the last 15 months to get the app to launch. The team, funded with $1.5 million, includes Chad Crutchfield, who previously worked as head of new initiatives at Living Social, former Cardtronics CTO Purvesh Patel and Tim Klanke, formerly of Chertoff Capital.
With the app launched, Psillas said the focus is on establishing “a capital-efficient approach to a large customer base.” He named a few potential categories of users, including people who want to establish a credit history or save money while still leveraging points, as well as people who keep multiple cards to go after rewards.-30-
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