Working Credit is a non-profit founded with a simple idea in mind: You don’t need to be wealthy to build good credit, you only need to know the rules. Yet over a third of US workers have either no credit score at all or a score below 600, leaving them at the mercy of unscrupulous lenders and inflated rates of interest for everything from car loans to appliances.Workers with poor credit come from all walks of life and when inevitable emergencies hit they have little to no safety net. Working Credit partners with employers to help employees take control of their financial lives, build credit, and have a better chance of saving.
Make Credit Work for You is an employee benefit that starts at a staff meeting in the workplace so we can make sure everyone, even the most initially skeptical or disinterested participant, is exposed to the basics of the credit system. Once the meeting begins, most employees quickly grasp what an enormous impact their credit score has on their financial and emotional lives.
Often workers have been paying bills on time, just not the right bills to establish or improve a score. It’s not crazy to assume a system is rigged against you when you’ve never been taught how it works. After the initial meeting, interested employees can sign up for one-on-one credit building counseling that continues for at least two years. For those with no credit score at all, or a score based on limited credit information, we offer a secured loan/savings product, CW-3, that can produce a tangible and sustainable increase in a credit score within six months.
Our success speaks for itself: After one year in our Credit Wellness Program, 71% of participants improve their scores. Furthermore, 48% more participants have a prime score (660 or above), allowing them to access competitive rates of interest. And 27% more have a credit card with at least $1,000 available – so they can weather financial emergencies without having to use high-priced payday or auto title lenders. Finally, 88% percent of all employees who use our CW-3 complete, or are on track to complete, the product, saving $300 in one year. Because our counselors pull employees’ credit scores every six months for at least two years, we have reliable metrics for tracking improvement.
This is true economic empowerment – helping dedicated, but often marginalized workers gain access to affordable, mainstream financial services.