" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> Financial Wellbeing Fintech Wagestream Acquires Keebo
Monday, February 26, 2024

Financial Wellbeing Fintech Wagestream Acquires Keebo, to Help Workers Get Access to Credit

Wagestream, the financial wellbeing provider backed by charities, VCs and BlackRock, has acquired challenger credit card startup Keebo.

Keebo’s product, technology and team, including CEO and founder, Michael Vanaselja, will become part of the Wagestream Group. The acquisition will support Wagestream’s mission of improving the financial wellbeing of shift and frontline workers – who are often excluded by traditional financial services.

Keebo has previously raised £5.5m in funding from Breega, Connect Ventures and grants from the UK Government’s Smart Innovation programmes. Keebo was the first credit card company authorised in the UK that uses Open Banking data to approve customers based on their broader financial behaviour – instead of just their credit score.

One in three adults may now have difficulty accessing credit from mainstream lenders. This figure has doubled recently, given today’s cost of living crisis and the growing number of people with limited credit histories. Frontline workers and low-income earners are especially impacted.

The FCA’s recent Woolard Review stated: “from the tab in the bar, to the slate in the grocer’s shop…credit makes economies work and has a social purpose.” Despite this, low-income households and new UK residents pay more than higher-income households for credit products – and often aren’t given access to them at all. This type of financial exclusion is referred to by the University of Bristol and Fair By Design as the Poverty Premium.

Keebo tackles this problem, with a credit card that is designed to help people:

  • Get access. Keebo doesn’t approve customers based just on their credit history. It uses Open Banking to approve them based on their wider financial behaviour.

  • Manage their debts. Empower customers to make better decisions through immediate, transparent feedback on how they’re doing.

  • Build credit. Keebo’s points-based credit limit builder helps customers understand and improve credit over time.

Keebo’s approach means it can help the UK’s 5 million ‘credit invisibles’, who have a thin credit file or no credit file at all, get access to the UK’s financial system and build better financial futures. More than 25,000 people have signed up to Keebo, which has a verified Trustpilot score of 4.8/5 – compared with an average of 1.5 among the UK’s five largest banking providers.

Michael Vanaselja, CEO and founder of Keebo, said: “Keebo set out to serve the millions of people who are unfairly denied traditional financial products and services – by helping them get access to credit and build their credit over time.

Now, we’ll be able to bring our solution to even more people with Wagestream and reach millions of frontline workers who are underserved by traditional financial institutions. The mission overlap is huge, and we can’t wait to help even more people build towards better financial futures.”

Keebo now becomes part of the Wagestream Group, whose financial wellbeing app is used by more than 3 million workers through employers like Bupa, Asda, Pizza Express and the NHS.

Workers can use the Wagestream app to manage budgeting, choose when to get paid, build up a rainy-day fund, chat to a money coach, save on their bills, and more – all in one app. The company was founded and created with social impact funds and the Fair By Design campaign, and operates on a social charter to improve workers’ financial wellbeing.

Peter Briffett, CEO and Co-founder of Wagestream, explained: “Many UK frontline workers are locked out of fairer financial services because of low credit scores.

With a phenomenal team and a product that’s already making credit fair and accessible for underserved households, joining forces with Keebo is another great example of  how we can make work more rewarding for frontline workers with workplace finance. By offering Wagestream, more than 1,000 employers now subsidise fairer financial services for their people, and, soon, help with building up a better credit history will be yet another benefit they can offer.”

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