case study

Onbo Enables Altro
to Reimagine
How Credit is Built

Altro at a glance

Altro helps individuals build credit and financial power through recurring payments and subscriptions they use every day.

Mobile AppMobile App

Industry

Consumer fintech

Headquarters

Los Angeles, CA

Founders

Michael Broughton, Ayush Jain

Investors

Y Combinator, SoftBank, Citigroup, Marcy Venture Partners, Concrete Rose, Jay Z

Onbo Products
Empowering Altro

  • Loan servicing
  • Loan origination
  • Compliance
  • Credit reporting

The background

Democratize access to credit through everyday subscriptions

Like many students, Michael Broughton struggled to finance his own education at USC due to lack of credit. Because of that experience, he dropped out of college to help consumers build credit. Together with his cofounder Ayush Jain, they launched Altro, a platform that helps people especially young consumers build credit through nontraditional payments.

Altro believes that everyone deserves credit – Credit is the power to pursue the life anyone chooses without rejection or unaffordable rates. The traditional process of building credit is complex and expensive, which is why a lot of young people cannot do it. Altro helps users earn credit counting the recurring payments and subscriptions, which are often unseen and uncounted, to build credit score.

The problem

Traditional debit card transactions
cannot build credit

One of Altro’s key value propositions is to help their users boost credit scores without encouraging them to overspend, get into debt, or take out new loans that incur interest or fees.

Traditionally, debit card transactions cannot be reported to credit bureaus to help build credit because no line of credit is utilized. The funds come directly from users’ bank accounts without any borrowing, and thus no credit relationship is established.

Expensive, outdated credit infrastructure

Launching a credit product is an extremely complex, expensive, and time consuming process. Companies have to build a lending function from scratch. This requires complying with a myriad of federal and state regulations, developing a loan management system, integration with credit bureaus, approvals for licenses, etc. Building all of these takes months or years and are usually not part of a company’s core competency.

According to Broughton, the existing infrastructures weren’t working because they were fragmented, outdated and very difficult to integrate and scale with the company’s growth:

“Before Onbo, we spent many long months convincing our card-issuing bank to be our credit sponsor. It was taking too long and time was our most valuable currency as a fast-growing startup. We looked at our options, and no one had a more comprehensive, full-stack credit infrastructure as Onbo, where we can plug and play and go to market with speed and confidence.”

CEO of AltroCEO of Altro

Michael Broughton

CEO and Co-founder of Altro

The Solution

Credit-Building Layer with Onbo

Using Onbo, Altro was able to easily add a “credit-building layer” to its debit cards. Onbo became the originator and servicer of these credit lines. When an Altro user spends $15 or more on their card, Onbo provides the initial capital via a line of credit that pays the merchant first, then the user repays Onbo the balance in full at the end of the month. This establishes a borrower-lender relationship and thus is considered a credit activity.

By adding Onbo’s API, Altro can report the credit utilization and payment activity to the credit bureaus each month, which helps boost its users’ credit scores and empower them financially.

The Results

Reimagined Customer-Centric Credit Product in Weeks, not Months

Working closely with the Onbo team, Altro implemented an embedded credit product in weeks, without having to change its existing tech stack or the card-issuing platform. Altro continues to own the customer relationship and users enjoy this embedded credit benefit, without ever having to leave the Altro app. This consistent and seamless customer-centric experience improves customer activation and retention.

“Onbo gave us the flexibility to test in-market rapidly and get real credit lines in our users’ hands within weeks. This allowed us to iterate on the product quickly based on real feedback and empowered us with agility and flexibility as we grew.”

CEO of AltroCEO of Altro

Michael Broughton

CEO and Co-founder of Altro

More Than Just a “Credit-as-a-Service” Provider

The Onbo experience encapsulated not only the credit infrastructure, but also an abundance of industry knowledge and expertise that helped customers like Altro better define its credit product and rulebook.

Like many companies, Altro was slowed down by the credit infrastructure and compliance requirements, and should never have to worry about this as their core competency. Onbo hand-held Altro throughout the process and generously shared resources including credit policy templates, knowledge bank, etc. which saved the Altro team significant time and effort.

“We were glad to spend time focusing on customer acquisition and experiences, while we trusted Onbo to make the backend complexities invisible and frictionless.”

CEO of AltroCEO of Altro

Michael Broughton

CEO and Co-founder of Altro

The Future

Credit Infrastructure that Scales with Our Customers

Like Altro, Onbo helps mission-driven companies of all sizes and stages grant financial access and power to underserved populations and our generation of the future.

About Onbo

Onbo by Stilt is a technology platform that modernizes lending offerings through our full-stack “credit as a service” infrastructure. Our API-driven, developer centric approach enables companies to launch and scale credit products with their existing stack.

We make it possible for any company, big or small, to build credit products in a user-friendly and seamless way by abstracting away the complexities of acting like a lending institution – compliance, origination, credit underwriting, loan management, partner integrations, etc. Our plug and play solution significantly lowers the barriers to entry in lending and credit products, which enables companies to focus on their core value proposition of innovating on the customer experiences.

For more information, please email [email protected] or [email protected]

Glass circlesGlass hexagonGlass circlesGlass hexagon