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November 01, 2021

How Vola used Plaid to save their users $18 million in overdraft fees

Scott Wotring

Overdraft fees. Predatory loans. Credit invisibility. For millions of Americans, the US financial system simply doesn’t work the way it should.

This is largely due to how traditional banks are structured, explains Vola Founder Tushar Bagamane, who attended college in New York in the early 2000s. There, he noticed financial inequities that would later fuel his fintech journey.

“Most banks have high costs for customer acquisition, onboarding, and operating—meaning it’s not viable for them to serve a certain sector of the population,” says Bagamane. “We’re able to do so because we’re more agile, we have no physical locations, and our fixed costs are low.”

Founded in 2017, New York-based Vola offers financial services to the financially underserved. By analyzing users’ financial data, the company is able to offer smart tools to help users do things like avoid overdraft fees, set budgets, and build their credit scores.

Providing these services hinges on Vola’s ability to access user-permissioned financial data. When their ACH payment processor recommended Plaid for this capability, Vola evaluated the options and ultimately chose Plaid.