We believe banking can and should be better.
Built into its DNA, banking is an exclusive club. Even if you could get in, it was hard to stay in. It felt like there were tricks at every turn waiting to trip you up. So people began looking for different ways to manage their money.
That’s where BrightFi comes in. BrightFi is banking for your life.
You work hard and you should be able to use your hard-earned money for what matters to you and your family, small to big, little to large. Like holiday gifts, or your next vacation, or your kids’ first year at college. There shouldn’t be surprise fees or extra costs to use your own money either.
BrightFi is a mobile banking app that uses the power of technology to offer almost everything you’d get at a traditional bank at a far lower cost with absolutely no hidden fees.
Above all, BrightFi helps you take back control of your finances, keep more of your hard-earned money, and begin working toward your goals. This is your piece of the pie.
We started this company because the statistics around who does and doesn’t have a bank account in this country are startling: Not just that 32 million households are either not using banks, or are using banks alongside other costly services like check cashers and prepaid cards – but that the people who are “unbanked” or “underbanked” are disproportionately Black, Latino, Native American, and Asian-Pacific Islander.
In fact, in 200 counties – all around the country – more than two-thirds of the people of color are un-or under-banked. When using these alternative financial services, people can spend upwards of $1,000 a year in fees – a figure that makes us angry, especially when compared with the number of people struggling to make ends meet month to month, much less save a little nest egg.
Further research told us that even when these communities are banked, they are paying more for basic banking services. This reflects a historical legacy of actively discriminating against Black and brown communities in our country. Understanding the story behind these numbers spurred us to action when we started this company in 2016.
Because we are a company dedicated to serving people who are not well served in today’s financial system, we keep some important values in mind:
Our business model has to be good for our customers.
It had to cost less than they were currently paying, for more & better services. It must not result in pressures we see other banks needing to succumb to, charging fees for basic services (often hidden to the customer until after the fact) and moving assets out of communities of color and other low-income communities. That’s how we settled on simply offering a great set of transaction services (checking, savings, bill pay, and transfers) for a set, transparent fee – no selling credit or relying on hidden fees to make money.
Our technology has to work great and meet our customers' needs – but at a far lower price.
That’s how we prioritized check deposit and setting rules that allowed people to have access to cash faster than most banks can provide. And we’ll continue doing more and more in this space – by listening to our customers.
We must earn our customer’s trust.
Partnering deeply with organizations in communities, showing up where our customers are already living their financial lives, and always being straight forward, clear, and honest in our communications is the start. We’re eager to hear how we can continually improve.
Over the last few years, we’ve turned these values into a product we’re ready to share with the world. The last few months of 2020, however, have shown just how critical a quality digital banking product is – one that allows people to stay safe where they are amid the coronavirus pandemic, and, while it values everyone in society, prioritizes outreach to underserved lower income communities, especially communities of color. We are trying our best to undo the racism of the past in the way we build this company, but say this humbly knowing we have a long way to go in getting there.
We invite you to go on the journey with us.
Say goodbye to check cashing fees and waiting in line. No minimum balances, overdraft or hidden fees. No credit check or ChexSystems verification required.