Plastyc just announced that it has raised $2 million to expand its financial services for the “underbanked”, namely people who don’t have bank accounts.
The New York startup said its products are aimed at the 60 million Americans who don’t go to banks or credit unions, and the “millions more” who are struggling to obtain credit cards or pay checking account fees. It offers iBankUp accounts that include a Visa prepaid card, a direct deposit number, and an online checkbook, but don’t require a credit check or a minimum deposit. (There is a small monthly fee and an ATM withdrawal fee.) It also offers prepaid Visa cards through its Upside program.
The company was originally aimed at a younger audience (the “y” in Plastyc is supposed to suggest “Generation Y”), but a Plastyc spokesperson said the customer base turned out to be broader, probably because of the recession. She pointed to data from Quantcast saying the main user demographic is 35 to 49 years old. There are 110,000 people who have signed up for Plastyc, and 75,000 monthly active users, she said, and they typically make less than $60,000 per year.
The funding comes from Core Innovation Capital, the investment partner for the Center for Financial Services Innovation (a research and advocacy organization that focuses on the underbanked). Plastyc said it will use the money to add services that help customers improve their savings and credit, and to offer a version that banks can sell with their own branding.