“I didn’t realize there was another way…”


We’ve all been in this situation: you think there’s only one way. Then someone shows you a door to a path you’d never considered.

At his previous employer, the reputable American bank, Wells Fargo, Venkat “Vinni” Bala was offering credit to international students without an SSN the old-fashioned way: with a secured credit card, which requires a customer to put down a security deposit that determines their credit limit.

When Vinni discovered SelfScore, he was invigorated by the possibilities of using alternative scoring methods to bypass the secured credit phase and offer international students a proper credit card as soon as they arrive in the U.S. “I’ve always felt we need to level the playing field for every person who can demonstrate good payment behavior, regardless of citizenship — ensuring that the same opportunities are at their disposal as everyone else,” says Bala.

It took a lot to convince Mr. Bala to leave a secure career at a well-respected and successful U.S. financial institution, but that’s the strength of his commitment to supporting international students. Bala’s own parents came to the U.S. from India many years ago. But even with admission offers to major U.S. schools and all the proper documentation it takes to get here, the challenges are just beginning. “Once they arrive here, there is very little support,” explains Bala. “I can only imagine how it would feel to leave my country at a young age and move abroad for school, only to be faced with additional obstacles once there.” As such he’s doubly enthusiastic about SelfScore’s mission not only to offer credit and other financial solutions but cultural education, career advice, and other forms of guidance to these students.

Read the official press release for more details.

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