Circular Board and Mastercard unveil a small business card

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Diving Brief:

  • Hello Alice, a small business resource brand from Houston-based parent company Circular Board and backed by tennis pro Serena Williams, has teamed up with Mastercard and First National Bank of Omaha to launch a credit card for small businesses, according to an August 16 press release. Release.
  • Credit card features typical benefits such as no annual fees, cash back and reward points for various business expenses. The Houston-based company said the card also allows business owners with limited or poor credit histories to rebuild their credit and receive one-on-one business coaching with professional counselors.
  • The card offering is part of a Hello Alice program aimed at providing “high-potential but credit-challenged” small business owners with the educational resources, tools and financial services they need to grow their business, according to the press release.

Overview of the dive:

With the launch of the credit card and its existing grant programs, Hello Alice aims to serve entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds and give more business owners access to the financing they need.

The company previously listed Serena Ventures by Serena Williams, restaurateur and television host Guy Proud and Bank of Silicon Valley as investors.

A May study by Hello Alice found 78% of small business owners cited access to capital as a barrier to running their day-to-day operations, a challenge especially true for 84% of Black owners and 82% of multiracial business owners. The company estimates that $70 million in grants from its program to foster fair access to capital could help about 30,000 business owners with their credit by 2025, potentially providing up to $1 billion in access. to credit.

The new Mastercard offering is designed to “meet the needs of small business owners where they are, breaking down long-standing barriers to mentorship, access to credit and overall financial health for those who have traditionally denied access,” Hello Alice co-founders Elizabeth Gore and Carolyn Rodz said, according to the press release. “During economic booms and busts, access to capital remains the biggest challenge for all small business owners.”

Hello Alice said cardholders can switch from secured credit cards to unsecured credit cards in just one year if approved. A secured card often requires the cardholder to provide a security deposit.

Although Hello Alice has differentiated itself by targeting various entrepreneurs, other fintechs have also largely focused on small businesses. Last year, Square, now known as Block, launched an industrial bank and later unveiled a suite of business checking and savings accounts aimed at small businesses.

Meanwhile, Mastercard partnered with two fintech startups earlier this year, Flowcast and Highnote, to introduce a credit card for small and medium enterprises with limited access to credit.

And in June, PayPal called on Mastercard, Concerto Card Company and WebBank to issue a credit card focused on small businesses.

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