Float Money (www.floatmoney.com), has recently unveiled a completely unique lending model which could restart the consumer credit industry. Float gives members the opportunity to access a line of credit that is repaid interest-free. Float members leverage their regular shopping with Float’s retail merchants into a tangible asset – loyalty.
How Does it Work?
Float members build a credit line (the Float Line) which is determined by two things:
- The user’s Membership Level, which is initially determined by credit score and then rises over time as the user continues to use Float.
- The user’s average monthly shopping through the Float network of online retailers and gift card merchants. The goal is to shop regularly online through Float, and to migrate local purchasing to the Float platform via their gift cards (for groceries, coffee, gas, pharmacy, etc.). See the “How it works” page on floatmoney.com for details.
Float makes a commission on purchases that members make through the online shopping network and makes a profit on gift card sales as well. So, similar to a website that offers cash back for shopping, Float instead makes interest-free loans. The more a member shops with Float’s merchants, the greater the credit line they build.
Float members are often seeking a “safety net” to compensate for low household savings. While others seek the benefits of an open unused credit line and how it can positively impact their FICO score. Most are using Float to pay down high-interest debt.
“My main goal is to build up interest-free “equity,” for lack of a better word, that I could use in an emergency and be able to pay back and stay away from credit card use.”
– Michael, Kentucky
Float members can use borrowed funds however they see fit (fill budget gaps, fix the house or car, pay off debt, etc.) and pay loans back over 10 months.
Additionally, Float offers what they call a Planned Spending Program (PSP). A member will receive gift cards (selecting the cards and values) that are automatically shipped twice a month for their local shopping (groceries, gas, etc.). This is how Float lets members capture their essentials and basics shopping, while also encouraging budgeting and planning. It builds the average monthly shopping level but without encouraging more shopping than normal.
Who should apply?
In the U.S., 64% of households can’t meet an unplanned $1000 expense without accessing credit. And 72% of Americans live without a dedicated “emergency fund,” according to the Fed and U.S. Census. Couple that data with high credit card interest rates and it’s a recipe for a potential disaster. Float was conceived to address this – to be a creative lending alternative to high-interest debt or a low savings rate for the typical American family.
As a new credit solution, it may take time to truly appreciate the Float model and how it all works, but expect to see similar lending innovation in the future. Consumers could certainly use it.