For better or worse, credit is a key aspect of life for many people. Good credit can help you prove that you are trustworthy and reliable, important in getting hired or obtaining a loan. But, a poor, or even no, credit score can have adverse effects and may make it difficult for some to get ahead in life. That is where British startup Aire, which is promoting an alternative credit score, comes into the picture.
The Aire system is designed to allow people to control their own scores, requiring the applicant to spend about 3 minutes providing information. The system therefore requires people to provide honest information about themselves and their past, but Aire does not simply take their word for it, as the company says that they triple-check it against other information provided, in order to ensure accuracy. An algorithm takes it from there, calculating a score that users can take and use to apply for loans or whatever they need. An interesting aspect of this system is that it is completely voluntary and users can delete their data if they see fit. Aire states that the data becomes encrypted after users provide it, meaning that not even Aire can access it. The service will be free to end-users for free, choosing instead to charge a small fee to companies for using the credit score.
Aire has not yet launched, so it is too early to talk about how many people are using the service. However, those interested in using the service may not have to wait long, as Aleksandr Mjakonkihh tells me that they are planning to launch in partnership with a major, international credit-card company within the next few weeks. And they have already generated a good amount of buzz, it seems, as he adds that “thousands” have signed-up to use the service when it does go live.
Aire has obtained funding, closing a pair of seed rounds totaling $1.5 million. They picked up an initial $400K from Barclays Accelerator, SparkLabs Global Ventures, Techstars, and an angel in the summer of 2014 and then followed it up with $1.1 million from SparkLabs and a trio of private investors this January.