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More than one million immigrants arrive in the U.S. every year, according to the Pew Research Center, yet lack of domestic credit history means millions of recent arrivals appear only as no-file or thin-file when applying for financial services. For newcomers who can’t obtain financial services, like access to credit cards or loans, because of their lack of history here, we as a country are limiting their potential for success upon arrival.

For Misha, Nova Credit’s co-founder and CEO, the problem at hand was personal. When his family immigrated to the U.S. from Russia, they quickly realized how difficult it was to build a life in the U.S. without credit history and how a lack of access to financial products stood in the way of opportunity. Many years later, as graduate students at Stanford University, Misha and his co-founders discovered that the very same problem was still rampant, and no one had tackled it. Nova Credit was founded to create a level-playing field for immigrants so they could start their journeys in the U.S. on more equal financial footing. Nova Credit is truly a passion project rooted in the harsh reality of financial inequality. Through Nova, Misha is boldly challenging the current financial norms in order to build a more inclusive financial landscape.

Nova Credit has emerged as one of the most exciting fintech startups with tremendous social impact, having helped tens of thousands of newcomers pull their international credit history and get approved for credit products otherwise inaccessible to immigrants. To drive systemic change towards financial inclusion, Nova Credit is building the global infrastructure that enables people to move their financial identity across borders and level the playing field, so immigrants are treated as equals and not as second-class citizens. 

To build this global platform for financial identity, Nova Credit has designed a complex three-sided marketplace comprised of international credit bureaus, financial service providers and consumers. Partnering with international credit bureaus with varying reporting protocols and compliance requirements is an arduous and long process. Financial service providers have never had the ability to reach the immigrant segment before and consumers (immigrants) have traditionally been excluded from the majority of traditional financial services. Nova Credit’s core innovation addresses that by offering Credit Passport, the company’s proprietary U.S.-equivalent global credit scoring and reporting format. Similar to a U.S. credit report, it contains a FICO-equivalent score, tradelines and inquiry history, allowing consumers who have recently arrived in the U.S. to attempt to demonstrate their creditworthiness to lenders. The real-time delivery of this reliable credit data enables credit card issuers, lenders, property managers, telecommunications companies and other service providers to instantly serve immigrants faster and more fairly. 

The Credit Passport can be used by any newcomer to the U.S. who wishes to authorize the sharing of their credit history from their home country to a U.S. lender who accepts Nova Credit’s translated scores. If Nova Credit can find a file in the database of one of its foreign credit bureau partners, the credit report is transferred to the lender. The company currently partners with credit bureaus in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Germany, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. 

From a college project to a disruptive force in fintech, Nova Credit is 70 “Novan’s” strong with a roster of diverse and phenomenally talented employees that have made it their goal to provide for the globally underbanked. With 71%of its employees of immigrant backgrounds, Nova Credit’s mission is the driving force behind the company. Nova Credit recognizes the need for change in the financial industry in order to better serve all members of society while simultaneously opening up an untapped sector of the financial market.

Projects evaluation criteria

Level of Impact
40%
Scalability
30%
Transparency
20%
H-Factor
10%

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