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Having your updated and accurate personal and financial information under your control and ready to use at a moment’s notice is something that hasn’t been readily available in the past – especially for the growing gig, contract and creator economies. But what a difference having that data would make when time is of the essence in obtaining a loan or applying for a job.
To fill that need, New York City-based Argyle, which announced a $55 million Series B round of funding, today launched a new SaaS service that provides companies access to user-permissioned employment records in real-time, helps new-economy workers directly, and saves loads of time and effort.
Four-year-old Argyle claims this is the first self-serve tool for consumers to generate income and employment verification reports for free. Providing a much-needed alternative to outdated and time-intensive verification processes, Argyle’s consent-driven service enables employees to easily access, verify and share their income and employment information with lenders, landlords and employers of their choice – at no charge to them.
Using Argyle’s SaaS service, a professional can upload repetitive form information in addition to a W-9 or W-2 document, insurance information, and – best of all – current and previous income information required for a loan or new employment application.
Goodbye to the credit score?
The old financial system is irrelevant to the new ways people are now working, Argyle CEO and co-founder Shmulik Fishman told VentureBeat. Argyle, in transforming credit decisioning, says consumers shouldn’t be evaluated on a single opaquely derived number – namely, the credit score – over which they have little to no control. Argyle’s approach breaks from this conventional credit model and invites businesses to evaluate consumer applications for loans, housing, insurance, and other essential financial services in a new way, he said.
“Consumers are being hurt by inaccurate and incomplete income and employment data because it is difficult and time-consuming to retain. Companies such as Experian and Plaid are reaping huge profits by selling income and employment verifications on data that is static and may not reflect the actual real-time situation of a consumer,” Fishman said.
1099-type workers (gig, freelance, creator, etc.) are often left behind and denied financial services because they don’t have the same predictable employment data records as full-time W-2 employees. In fact, new survey data from Argyle of more than 1,200 gig, freelance and contract workers indicated that more than 63% of gig and freelance workers who have the means to pay for financial services were denied access because their credit score was based on old or incorrect information.
Almost 70% of gig and freelance workers believe that their employment and income records more accurately reflect their ability to pay than their credit score, yet most businesses and institutions still only rely on the credit score, Fishman said.
Financial services denied
Fixing this problem is a win for consumers currently prevented from access to vital financial services (loans, leases, mortgages, etc.) amid worldwide volatility and the institutions that aren’t serving them, but should be.
“This is about access to financial services and products,” Argyle co-founder and COO Billy Marsden told VentureBeat. “When you can prove how much money you make, how often you work, etc., that makes it easier for financial institutions to underwrite those products, and that helps automate the process and make their costs lower. So, it’s a win-win on both sides.
“The nature of work is changing; not everybody is a W-2 anymore. People are freelancers. People make money on Patreon or Substack or YouTube, in the creator economy. There’s a joke in this industry that banks would rather underwrite a W-2 worker that makes $100,000 than a freelancer who makes $500,000. And I think that that trend is only continuing.”
Marsden said that Argyle’s growing coverage includes more than 500,000 U.S. employers, including 60% of the Fortune 500, millions of gig workers, and more than 170 million U.S. employees.
Argyle has yet to be evaluated by such analysts as G2.com, Cpterra or Gartner Peer Reviews.
“Argyle is setting a new standard for how credit risk is assessed,” Fishman told VentureBeat. “It opens the door to broader financial access for all consumers by addressing identity, employment, and income verification in a holistic and equitable way. We can replace the Equifaxes of the world.”
Argyle’s Series B round of funding was led by SignalFire with participation from current investors including Bain Capital Ventures, Bedrock, and Checkr. Following Argyle’s $23 million Series A, the additional capital infusion will be used to accelerate the growth of its in-house engineering team, fuel international expansion, and scale the company’s go-to-market operations, Fishman said.
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