Helping 4 million customers understand their Borrowing Power
By Sandy Kwan, Senior Product ManagerNov 24th 2021
This week, in celebration of hitting the four million customer milestone, our product managers are each writing about a product feature they like or have worked on during their time at TotallyMoney. Today it’s Sandy’s turn, looking at a long-time core app feature, Borrowing Power.
As a credit app, TotallyMoney is much more than a credit score. We have a number of proprietary features that help everyone move their finances forward.
Your credit report shows you the information that’s visible to lenders, with this data generating your credit score. It’s a reflection of you, your financial history, and what the lenders see when you apply for credit.
Crucially, it doesn’t give you context about your creditworthiness. So, in 2018 we developed Borrowing Power, a simple 1-10 score of your means to access credit, and it remains a key product feature to this day.
Using a combination of lending and credit report data, and information from your TotallyMoney account, we make a number of calculations, with the result being your Borrowing Power. The higher the number, the more cards and loans you could see on TotallyMoney.
Bolstering Borrowing Power
Borrowing Power was a particularly useful feature for customers at the onset of the pandemic, as lenders tightened their eligibility criteria due to much greater market uncertainty. This meant they had less or even no credit offers – a disaster for those who needed credit urgently due to losing their jobs or being put on furlough.
Because the algorithm uses current lending data, this increased turbulence caused greater fluctuations in customers’ Borrowing Power, something we hadn't seen before. However, it also managed to give customers greater certainty, as they could see in real-time their eligibility going up or down.
However, we wanted to improve the experience and reduce the fluctuations, to ensure Borrowing Power remained useful to customers. So, we updated the algorithm, using data science principles and machine learning to take in a much wider view of the market, making it more responsive to market changes and therefore even more accurate.
This new, improved Borrowing Power feature will be launched on the app shortly, so keep an eye out!
The end result of this is being able to show our customers exactly how eligible they are for the credit they need to achieve their financial goals. We believe Borrowing Power is the first feature in the market to give a ‘so what?’ to your credit score, showing what lenders actually think of your credit report, plus what the market is doing.
It was a great project to work on in the midst of the pandemic, because we were solving a problem customers had and making their lives easier in a small, but hopefully noticeable, way.
I’ve always thought of it like this: if the credit score looks backwards at your history, Borrowing Power looks at today and what that means for your eligibility. And that, I believe, is why over 4 million people have chosen to use TotallyMoney to move their finances forward.