Credit Kudos, a U.K. fintech using open banking to provide more accurate credit scoring, has raised £5 million in Series A funding.
Leading the round is AlbionVC, which is joined by TriplePoint, Plug & Play Ventures, Ascension Ventures’ Fair by Design fund, and Entrepreneur First (EF). In addition, a number of fintech angels participated.
They are Christian Faes (LendInvest), Tom Stafford (DST Global Managing Partner), Charlie Delingpole (ComplyAdvantage and MarketInvoice), Will Neale (Grabyo and Fonix Mobile) and Daniel Gandesha (PropertyPartner).
Ed Lascelles, from AlbionVC, takes up a seat on the Credit Kudos board alongside the company’s co-founders Freddy Kelly (CEO) and Matt Schofield (CTO).
Calling itself a “challenger credit bureau,” Credit Kudos is using open banking to replace what it calls “traditional, narrow methods” of credit assessment in order to make credit fairer and more accessible. As it stands, credit scores are typically a blackbox and based on very primitive assumptions about a person’s financial health.
By securely analysing bank account data via open banking, Credit Kudos says it enables lenders to make faster and more informed credit decisions, while also reducing defaults — and, crucially, at a significantly lower cost than less scalable methods of assessment.
“Traditionally, credit scores are calculated based on past borrowing history and a few other simple measures such as being on the electoral roll and frequency of credit applications,” explains co-founder and CEO Freddy Kelly. “These existing scores are a very weak signal of financial health as they don’t consider an individual’s day-to-day income and expenditure. Because of this, many borrowers are forced to pay higher interest rates or are rejected entirely”.
Kelly says that by using open banking data provided by customers when they apply for credit, Credit Kudos is able to create a far more accurate picture of someone’s financial health and creditworthiness. “We do this by analysing past banking transaction data alongside factors such as whether they repaid on time,” he says. “We have built a platform that allows lenders to integrate open banking data into their existing processes in order to make more accurate decisions and reach a far wider audience”.
An alumni of company builder program EF, last year the startup on-boarded over 50 new lenders ranging from FTSE100 firms to independent credit unions and community finance vendors. Most recently, Credit Kudos has partnered with a number of credit intermediaries including ClearScore, CarFinance 247, and Mojo Mortgages. This is seeing customers use their bank data to secure better offers across unsecured loans, car finance and mortgages.
Meanwhile, Kelly cites traditional credit reference agencies (CRAs) in the U.K., such as Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, as its main competitors. “Each of the existing CRAs provides a standardised credit dataset based on past borrowing behaviour, sometimes referred to as the FICO model,” he tells me. “However, Credit Kudos is the first regulated challenger in the market that is putting control in the hands of borrowers by allowing them to share their bank transaction data through open banking”.
To that end, Credit Kudos’ revenue model is simple enough. The fintech startup charges lenders a monthly fee for its data based on the volume of transactions they process.