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Finance

Meet StellarFi, the app that builds your credit while paying your bills

The app aims to help consumers build their credit for any kind of bill payment they're currently making.
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Written by Evan Zimmer, Staff Writer on
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Source: Stellar

StellarFi announced Tuesday that it's now available to all consumers. The credit-building app makes your bill payments on your behalf, and then it reports the successful payment to the three major credit bureaus to help build your credit. Eligible bill payments include rent payments, streaming subscriptions, utilities, and more.

StellarFi offers three different membership tiers for users: a $4.99 monthly membership, a $9.99 membership, and a $19.99 membership. The mid tier lets consumers add an unlimited amount of bills for StellarFi to pay on their behalf. There are no other fees for user's to worry about, the company said.

There is no credit check required to make an account, just a valid bank account and a Social Security number to verify your identity.

"[Bills] could be your utility [payments], your rent, Netflix... And, what we do is we quickly analyze [the bills], and we create an account for you and remit a payment on your behalf and pull money from your linked bank account to pay ourselves back," Lamine Zarrad, Stellar CEO and founder, told ZDNet.

Because StellarFi is taking risks on the user's behalf, it's able to report the successful payment to the major credit bureaus as a positive payment, and thus improve the user's credit.

By allowing payments that consumers are already making to build credit, the company hopes to help consumers have better access to capital in order to disrupt the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle some people may find themselves in. Eliminating the risk of missing a payment provides a safety net for consumers.

And later on, the company said certain clients will be able to delay the withdrawal of the funds for the bills from their account for 45 to 60 days if they can't immediately cover the purchase.

"StellarFi believes everyone is creditworthy. Anyone who pays rent should be able to secure a mortgage. The company's mission is simple: financial inclusivity. StellarFi is solving the current arbitrary process of accessing capital," Angela Yee, a founding partner of StellarFi and co-host of The Breakfast Club -- a nationally syndicated radio show on Power 105.1 -- said in the press release.

Earlier this month, StellarFi partnered with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling as part of its ongoing goal of supporting consumers' financial wellness. Users can follow a link in the StellarFi app to schedule an appointment with a certified credit counselor to learn more about credit and to improve their financial literacy.

Also: Mint brings financial literacy to consumers, underserved communities to help improve money habits

The app launched today with its bill-pay tool, but the company has plans to expand the app's features. The future plans include eventually building a credit marketplace where consumers can access offers below market rates once they've improved their credit profile through the bill-pay capability. 

"What we're going to do is help folks connect with offers that are below market rates. Because we're improving their profile, we see ourselves as a marketplace for credit, in the long run," Zarrad said. 

"[You can] link all your bills, put [them] on autopilot, Stellar will pay [them] for you and build your credit, generating rewards [to lower your bills] because you're getting points back for every bill that's paid through Stellar. And then on top of that, you'll be able to select what you need. If it's a mortgage, we'll give you access to mortgage offers, home improvement loans, anything you need in relation to being a homeowner. If it's a car, you'll be able to access credit to buy a vehicle," he said.

The company also plans to implement financial literacy games into the app. While playing a game, users will be building their financial literacy knowledge and earning rewards. Rewards can then be used to lower the cost of their bill payments. In addition, the company has plans to support financial literacy in schools for grades K-12 as well as for college students.

If you're interested in signing up for StellarFi, you can do so on its website.

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