Incentives have become a big part of the credit card industry.
Aside from the elimination of annual fees, many companies are
offering credit cards with special rewards programs that allow
customers to earn cash back on their purchases. What many
customers don't realize, however, is that they could earn more
cash rewards if they knew when and where to use their credit
"We downloaded all of our transactions for the year, and what
we found is that if we had used any one card…[we] would have
earned probably $1,000 to $1,400 in rewards from that individual
card," Mike Vichich, co-founder of
, told Benzinga.
"But if you had the right portfolio of somewhere between three
and four cards, you can really pick that up and get into the
$3,000 range. So you can triple the amount of money at you earn
in rewards, you just have to know which cards to have and when to
Vichich, who founded Glyph with Tyler Felous, discovered that
the average American misses out on $600 in credit card rewards
"That was kind of the initial inception of Glyph," said
Vichich. "We raised a round of money in April of last year, and
since then we've been cranking. We've been building our team and
building our product and we launched version 1.0 of the app in
the App Store in November."
The company's Web-based app launched at
"The objective is not to sell you more credit cards, to be
explicitly clear," Vichich insisted. "The objective is to help
consumers make better financial decisions. That's a choice that
every individual has to make on their own. We just want to
provide people with the information."
Glyph partnered with
to help analyze data for the Web app, which "has the ability to
pull in your actual historical banking transaction data," Vichich
"Then we can run them through our model and tell you the exact
dollar amount and rewards you're missing out on by having the
wrong cards in your wallet," he added. "That's the objective:
help people build the perfect credit card portfolio for them and
second, help them figure out which part to use on each
Users are not required to share their personal information,
"You don't have to [provide personal data], and you can still
get value from Glyph," Vichich explained. "I would argue that
it's not as much as if you give us data, because we can
personalize things very directly for you as an individual.
"On the Web app, if you don't want to link your account, we've
got canned profiles that are kind of personas by life stage.
We've got a college graduate, a young professional, a family and
an empty nester. Those are profiles that are standard, because
generally speaking college grads have roughly the same type of
"On the mobile app, when you first sign up, you don't have to
give us any credit card information. And if you don't want to,
you never have to."
However, Vichich said that it is advantageous to provide that
"One of the reasons why you might want to link in that case
would be to improve your credit score," he said. "We show you the
current balance and the utilization on each card that's in your
wallet before you go buy something. You can then make a smarter
choice, because most people don't realize that if you have
greater than 30 percent of your credit utilized at any one time,
that can actually hurt your credit score."
Vichich used Chase Freedom (NYSE:
) as an example.
"To illustrate, let's say you've got a $10,000 credit line and
you've been going to $5,000," he explained. "[That's] 50 percent
of $10,000. What's happening is that you are actually hurting
your credit score by having your utilization continuously go over
that 30 percent threshold.
"What we would recommend is calling up Chase and asking them
to increase your credit line to $15,000 so that if you continue
to spend $5,000, your credit line is $15,000, and therefore
you're not going to get dinged from the utilization perspective
and you don't have to change anything about your behavior."
Looking ahead, Vichich said that Glyph doesn't have plans to
go to BlackBerry (NASDAQ:
) in the near future. "We do have plans to go to Android, but
that's a few months out," he said.
"The future, where we see this headed, people are going to be
paying for stuff using their phone. And whether that's through
NFC or through an Internet connection like Square is doing, it's
too early to tell. And we actually don't care which medium wins
out. There could be multiple that emerge, so we are agnostic of
Vichich estimates that Visa (NYSE:
), MasterCard (NYSE:
), Discover (NYSE:
), American Express (NYSE:
) may open up their pay-by-phone services to third-party
"That's one scenario where Glyph, in the future, could be
helping consumers pick the perfect card every single time and
actually be consumer-facing in executing the payment," said
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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