Today, as a borrower, your primary incentive for paying off debt is to avoid fees and not to get a hit on your credit score. Debbie is here to change that mindset by rewarding borrowers for good habits, rather than punishing bad ones. A fitness expert can tell you to stop snacking to lose weight, but there’s a big difference between knowing something is good for you and actually doing it. Behavioral science has shown that if you want to achieve ANY goal, you need more than just internal motivation- you need smaller, more manageable “carrots” along the way. “Debt Freedom” products need to start offering a clear plan AND incentives along the way to help people achieve that plan.
Debbie is the first platform that empowered YOU to make good decisions and actually rewards you with cash, rather than charging you for an app that automates your financial transactions or solely tells you that you’ve gone over your restaurant budget this month. Debbie integrates into your existing financial ecosystem, just like Honey and Rakuten pay you while you shop- we do the same for paying down debt.
Many companies will try to sell you instant relief or quick cash to solve the problem, but that’s usually not sustainable. It’s similar to trying Slimfast or a 2 week kale-only diet for weight loss — crash diets don’t work, and neither does fast money. In fact, more than 50% of people who consolidate/refinance their credit cards end up in the same level of credit card debt within less than a year. It turns out that treating overspend on credit cards with a large sum of cash and no guidance isn’t really helpful — go figure! Noom and Weight Watchers have taken the slow approach to weight loss, one that focuses on empowering the customer to make better choices on their own — at Debbie, we want to take the same approach for debt freedom.
Although a lot of debt is driven by low income and high costs of living, the larger portion of our debt is driven by a culture that often promotes bad spending decisions. Folks from all over the income spectrum, from those earning $20k a year to those earning $1m+ a year, have experienced crippling debt and even bankruptcy. We live in a world where every department store offers you “savings” for opening a store credit card. Americans are getting over 6.7 BILLION mail credit card offers every year. And now the latest newcomers to the party — “Buy Now Pay Later” companies like Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna are making overspending even easier and more compelling.
When we first started building Debbie in 2020, debt levels were at record low levels and trending downwards. People repeatedly asked us why a product like ours was important; what they missed was that these debt payments were not driven by a real change — they were artificially inflated by the government’s stimulus checks and the fact that people didn’t have as many opportunities to spend. The underlying spending behaviors didn’t really change, and we saw clear proof when in 2021 we added $46bn to our credit card tab, wiping out the reductions. At Debbie, we understand that unlocking the key towards long term financial freedom isn’t about throwing more money at the problem, it’s about empowering borrowers to build long lasting positive money habits.
We grew up around debt during our childhoods and later struggled with it as adults. We each set out on our financial freedom journeys, during which we joined the debt freedom community, taught ourselves better habits, and ultimately hustled our way upwards.
When we rose up the ladder on Wall Street at some of the most prestigious banks, we realized that most “Debt Freedom” products were not designed with the customer’s experience in mind. The large fintech companies employ many smart people to build these products, but most of those people had never experienced debt themselves. It was difficult to enact change to benefit the consumer because there was a general misinformed assumption that borrowers were mostly bad decision makers or worse, moochers. In fact, many of these institutions focus most of their resources dealing with negative customer actions (missed payments etc.) , but forget to celebrate and reward all the positive actions customers take towards financial health. As a result, we were inspired to go out and build a better product ourselves — one that aligns itself with the customer.
For many years, the financial services market believed financial inclusion meant giving people access to basic banking and access to credit. Credit can be a wonderful tool to get more done with less — we can use credit to build businesses and to invest in homes that can rise in value. However, credit can also be severely destructive when it’s thrown at financially undereducated consumers that don’t understand the true cost of debt and often end up drowning in compound interest and overspending.
We believe financial inclusion should expand to mean access to financial security — that means savings, investing, home ownership etc. Credit card debt largely holds people back from putting money into investments and retirement, creating a larger financial gap between the haves and the have-nots. As a result, debt freedom products like Debbie need to and will seamlessly transition borrowers into wealth builders.
I started Debbie because I personally experienced crushing debt and was very frustrated with existing solutions. I wanted to build something better!
Previously did Credit Risk and Product Development at Marcus By Goldman Sachs
I grew up in a single-parent, immigrant home where I was the first person to go to college. My family had no access to proper financial literacy and has struggled with the debt cycle for many years. My childhood experiences helped inspire the founding of Debbie.
I ride a motorcycle to work 🏍
I started Debbie because I believe everyone should be capable of achieving financial security.
Former VC at BDMI and model monkey at Credit Suisse.
Past personal experience: I grew up in an immigrant family that was able to build a relatively stable life, but didn’t really build generational wealth. My parents made some poor investment decisions that made retirement fairly difficult, and I am working to help them get to a better place.
I am a secret chef.
I started Debbie because I felt the current credit system was broken.
Engineer at heart, formerly at Earnest
I came to the US from France to pursue my career in tech and struggled to obtain credit or get a lease, despite being a responsible adult.
I also ride a motorcyle - but mine is better than Frida’s.
I joined Debbie because I believe that existing financial products don’t empower or care about borrowers financial health.
Entrepreneur at heart (founded Moon Balloon)
At the age of 16, I took on a new passion for hustling- saving and investing for a debt-free future. It's been quite the journey and I am confident my work at Debbie can help others build financial wellness.
I love to doodle!
Join here. Terms apply.