One way to earn some extra cash or free stuff is by using a rewards credit card. BUT the diabolical problem is knowing which rewards credit card will benefit you the most. There are so many options and variables it’s hard for the human brain to compute the best deal. Enter an ingenious app called “Birch Finance” which does the work for you. My guest today is Birch Co-founder Alex Cohen.
How much money are people leaving on the table by not taking advantage of rewards credit cards?
The average person misses out on hundreds of dollars in rewards each year by using the wrong cards. Cue Birch Finance, the only app of its kind to help credit card users maximize their rewards earnings. It varies for everyone. Take someone that only uses debit cards, for example. On average they miss out on $600-$800 a year in rewards because they’re essentially using cash on every purchase. But for folks that have a card or two already, we typically see them missing out on $200 each year with the cards they already have and around $600 by not using a better card for their spending.
Explain what you mean when you say we analyze “the way you spend.”
So when we think of a rewards credit card, the biggest factors are:
• Sign on bonuses
• Category bonuses (2x on gas)
• Merchant bonuses (earn a bonus when you shop on Amazon)
Every card is different (hence why it’s so difficult to figure out which card is best) and Ignoring all the terms and conditions (and there are a lot) the only way to know which card is right for you is by comparing our actual spend against these cards. It’s almost as if we can show you what your spending WOULD have been had you had used a different card on real purchases.
How do you get the customer’s spending profile in order to figure out their patterns?
Users log in with their bank credentials so that Birch can link to their accounts. There are no card or account numbers required. Birch creates a secure connection with each of your banks and syncs your transactions across all accounts.
One key piece is that we never store usernames and passwords. They’re passed to the banks and then we chat using a token.
OK, so once a Birch customer has 2-3 of the best credit cards for THEM in their wallet, you also tell them WHICH of those to use at a given store. How does that work?
Using geolocation, Birch alerts you to which card in your wallet to use when you walk into a store. In our iOS app (android coming soon), a user can tap on the “compass” icon in the middle of the navigation bar, and using their location in real time, we show nearby stores and the best card to use. If you can’t find the store you can search. One day we’d love to do this using push notifications but we also don’t want to annoy our users if they aren’t actually shopping 🙂
The Birch App is free. So I think it’s important for people to understand how Birch makes its money.
We make money when someone applies for a credit card. It doesn’t impact any placements or recommendations and most cards we don’t have relationships with. Even if we don’t get paid, we’ll still show a card if it’s best for our users. All we ask is that you apply through us so we can continue building awesome products!
How long has Birch been around and how much money do you calculate you’ve made for your customers so far?
We’ve been around for two years with our first product going live in November of 2016, so a year ago. We’ve probably helped people earn around $10,000,000 worth of extra rewards!
Alex provided a guest blog post naming his expert picks for the best apps to save you money this holiday season. That’s available at EasyMoneyShow.com/30.