Startup Scratch is working to make paying off student and personal loans simpler for borrowers through an easy-to-use mobile app.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Americans are on pace to accumulate a collective $4 trillion in consumer debt by the end of 2018, with total non-housing debt at 26 percent of Disposable Personal Income.
It’s no surprise that debt can leave many borrowers feeling overwhelmed. After speaking to a stressed-out Uber driver about her frustration with keeping tabs on her debt payments, Scratch's founder Sameh Elamawy started to consider how he could change the loan servicing business.
According to Fortune, Elamawy has put together a team of Amazon and Pinterest veterans for his startup, which has raised $17 million from Index Ventures and others, including Ribbit Capital, Founders Fund, Nyca Partners, the Center for Financial Services Innovation, and JPMorgan Chase.
Elamawy, who was recently named as an advisor to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, believes his company can help make paying loans a better — and less stressful — experience. Scratch relies on APIs that take data from lenders to show a borrower’s payment obligations within the app. While the technology won't result in lower payments for borrowers, it does decrease service fees for lenders, with those extra funds potentially being passed on to borrowers.
Currently, borrowers cannot sign up for the service. Instead, they will receive an email from the company inviting them to join. At this time, Scratch only services personal and student loans — but there are plans to expand to mortgages and other types of debt in the future.
“For scale we already have billions of dollars in loans flowing through our platform. Now that doesn’t yet make a dent in the 13 trillion of household debt out there, but we are excited to be growing by the day,” he said.