On the Road to Making Loan Payment Less Confusing and More Flexible For Americans
Scratch wants to give consumers control of how — and when — they pay off their debt
Sameh Elamawy is obsessed with the idea of user experience. He worked as a product manager at Dropbox and Pinterest and is now CEO and co-founder of Scratch, a San Francisco-based startup.
His goal is to build a platform, as the name suggests — from scratch — to make managing and paying off loans a friendlier experience for users. The company’s hope is to positively impact the financial health of all Americans in debt.
Scratch was started by Elamawy and his co-founder, Chris Walters in 2015. After meeting at Pinterest, the two came together to improve the experience of loan payment for Americans. “We’re constantly talking to borrowers,” says Elamawy. “Everyone seems to have an issue with their servicer, which is a problem because they are responsible for helping those folks pay back their loans.”
While the process of taking out a loan has been vastly improved, the experience of paying back a loan remains arcane and challenging for users. “Servicers today are all using very antiquated systems, doing almost everything manually, and as a result so many mistakes occur leading to a poor borrower experience,” says Elamawy.
This is where they hope Scratch will make a difference. The startup is building a platform that re-engineers the conventional loan servicing experience for users. By building technology that streamlines the loan servicing process, users will be empowered to take control over their debt.
Each user is able to gain visibility into all their debt — from student loans to car payments to mortgages — by housing it in one place, on the Scratch app.
Scratch gives users flexibility and makes their loans more accessible. If a users wants to change a payment due date to align with their payday, or adjust their monthly payment amount, this can easily be done online.
Previously, users would be required to call a support line to make minor changes to their loans or find basic information about their loans. Instead, Scratch allows users to receive information and support in a way that is most convenient to them. “Every user is different, so we try to personalize their experience to meet their needs and preferences,” says Elamawy.
For example, users can receive alerts to their phone for when it’s time to make a payment, and get support for their loan through text message, e-mail or phone. “If you want to reach us by phone, you can, but if you don’t want to, you don’t have to,” says Elamawy.
The founders are looking to reinvent old-school loan payment practices. They want Scratch to offer people more transparency into their debt and greater control over how and when they make payments – two issues that have long plagued the loan payment system.
With 80 percent of the US population juggling debt, this is a market that is ripe for innovation.
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