By Jonathan Shieber
With the rebranding, the former BillGuard becomes Prosper’s first mobile app and is the company’s first beachhead into what chief executive Aaron Vermut hopes will be a broader suite of mobile products.
The move brings the marketplace lender in line with a range of financial services companies that are offering one-stop windows into a user’s total financial history.
The Prosper Daily app will offer BillGuard’s budgeting and spending tracking services, alerts for potential fraudulent charges, and credit monitoring.
“Getting people into an installment loan off of a high rate credit card can change and improve their life,” says Vermut, responding to criticism that the company only operates as a quasi-payday lending service. “We bought BillGuard to help us to continue to achieve our goal of helping customers achieve their own goals of getting on top of their finances.”
Vermut argues that the financial tools that give borrowers a window into their finances are equally as helpful as the company’s 12% to 13% loans — which, he said, are still lower than credit card fees.
Under the Prosper brand, BillGuard’s services won’t change much. Already users have the option to “optimize” their credit through a button in the app that links to Prosper’s lending service.
Vermut views the mobile app as a way to engage with potential customers even if those people can’t receive Prosper loans. “We turn away a lot of people from Prosper,” he said. “We should be giving them this app so we can become a trusted partner in their financial life.”
Ultimately, Prosper’s strategy is to expand its services through new mobile apps.
“We look at ourselves as a fintech company that is designing… unsecured credit products for the middle class consumer,” Vermut said.
That means the company could be coming up with new ways to deliver loans based on the financial information it gleans from the Prosper Daily app, Vermut said.
The article first appeared in Techcrunch.com