A path to money happiness
connect user bank accounts
As its velocity of new users began to increase, Esusu needed a surefire way to connect their bank accounts. A previous vendor couldn’t keep pace.
With Plaid, Esusu connects customer bank accounts in a matter of seconds. As a result, they’ve seen their NPS climb to 66 and their attrition decrease by 35%.
In a country as diverse as the United States, there’s no one-size-fits-all pathway to financial freedom.
Unfortunately, the legacy financial system all too often assumes the opposite. That leaves out many low-and middle-income and immigrant Americans who struggle to manage cash flow, put away savings, or build good credit.
In response, social entrepreneurs Samir Goel and Abbey Wemimo founded Esusu, a disruptive fintech company that uses Plaid to help marginalized communities gain access to the financial system and build financial health.
Esusu is modeled on traditional savings and lending practices, which are common in many African, Caribbean, Latin American, and Asian cultures.
Their primary service is a mobile app that functions as a savings club. It’s a form of peer-to-peer banking that lets a closed group of family and friends regularly pay into a single digital account. They take turns withdrawing funds from the pool to pay expenses or start a business.
Deposits into the group account are reported as loan repayments to credit bureaus, helping members build credit scores. Users can also enroll in Esusu’s rent reporting program, which reports payments to landlords to the same credit bureaus, to further help build their credit. In order to participate, users must link a bank account.
Where Plaid fits in
Goel and Wemimo found inspiration for Esusu in their immigrant backgrounds. In Nigeria, Wemimo’s mother relied on a traditional savings club—called susu after the Yoruba word for “to plan”—to pay his high school tuition. Goel’s grandparents used a savings club to put food on the table and pay for his father’s school, which enabled him to emigrate to the United States
Similarly-functioning clubs elsewhere in the world are called tandas (Latin America), partnerhand (West Indies), cundinas (Mexico), game’ya (Middle East), kye (South Korea), tanomosiko (Japan), pandeiros (Brazil), quiniela (Peru), and arisan (Indonesia).
By offering an accredited banking model that is familiar to many, Goel and Wemimo are making financial stability newly approachable and attainable for untold numbers of potential users.
Plaid provided us the most comprehensive market solution at a price point that was affordable.
Samir Goel, Co-Founder, Esusu
When Esusu launched in early 2018, Goel and Wemimo worked with a previous vendor to connect customer bank accounts and onboard new users. But when the volume began to increase, the vendor struggled to keep pace.
“Our previous vendor wasn’t able to integrate with many of the banks our users wanted,” Goel said. “We were having to turn people down, and that was unacceptable.”
Goel and Wemimo needed their new solution to be best-in-class, and they wanted a solid, seamless transition. For that they turned to Plaid’s industry-leading API—even though it meant spending a little more.
“Plaid provided us the most comprehensive market solution at a price point that was affordable,” Goel explained. “There wasn’t an immediate cost savings, but the ROI was much higher.”
A Plaid solution
With Plaid, Esusu can connect a customer’s bank account in just 11 seconds. Plaid also enables Esusu to make sure that users have sufficient funds in their accounts before initiating a transaction. That prevents many painful and expensive overdraft fees.
“Account overdraws are a systemic challenge to the communities we work with,” explained Wemimo. “Plaid allows us to put controls in place to make sure we aren’t further marginalizing communities that have already been marginalized by the mainstream system.”
Plaid’s simple interface and reliable data quality have improved Esusu’s user experience. Since integrating with Plaid, Esusu has watched its Net Promoter Score (NPS) grow to 66. Meanwhile, its user attrition has decreased by 35%.
Finally, Plaid reduces the amount of time Esusu must dedicate to customer support. Goel and Wemimo estimate that they save 25 hours each month, leaving more time to focus on strategic goals. Their goal is to hit 100,000 users by the end of 2019—and Wemimo says it wouldn’t be possible without Plaid.
“The Plaid team is really, really good,” he said. “We’re a small company at this point, so we’re not a big revenue driver for Plaid, but to them we matter, and that means a lot.”