22. Yonder

A rewards credit card that allows you to earn points on all purchases and spend them on the best things to eat, drink, and do in your city – and beyond.

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Startups 100 2024 NOMINEE
Exceptional Founder Shortlisted

In recognition of the entrepreneur who has turned their own personal struggles or challenges into a force-for-good, leading the way for industry change and innovation.

Startups 100: Exceptional Founder Award

Founders: Tim Chong, Theso Jivajirajah, Harry Jell

Year founded: 2020
Website: yondercard.com 

Yonder is a credit card with a difference – it’s specifically designed for young professionals who may not have a UK credit score, but are tech-savvy, love to explore, and expect the highest level of service. 

Yonder’s rewards programme is built for modern life, with points that are simple to use and never expire. The company’s founders recognised that traditional credit card rewards were not meeting the needs of customers – often offering confusing and unappealing rewards. 

“There's not been much change,” the Yonder team tells us. “Reward schemes still reflect the loyalty programmes that started in the late 1980s.” 

Reward schemes still reflect the loyalty programmes that started in the late 1980s

By contrast, Yonder's unique perks program offers members the ability to explore and enjoy London's finest bars, restaurants, cultural, and fitness experiences. Points are simple to use, have no expiration, and no restrictions, making credit more empowering.

Yonder has already established extensive relationships with its partners, giving customers tasty bites and great experiences from brands including Crust Bros, Le Bab, Peckham Cellars, Lina Stores, and BAO. 

Yonder also addresses the issue of “credit invisibles,” individuals who are underserved by current credit providers due to a thin (or nonexistent) UK credit file. Co-founders Tim Chong, Theso Jivajirajah, and Harry Jell all had personal struggles accessing credit when they moved to the UK from Australia. But they turned that challenge into opportunity. 

Yonder uses open banking to provide a personalised view of customer spending habits, reducing reliance on traditional credit checks and ensuring a fair assessment for those with no UK credit history.

In Yonder, the team has built a credit card for a demographic underserved by other  providers – and that’s no easy feat. The credit market is complicated and tightly regulated. 

A working credit card is hugely complex and, with real money moving around, there was very little margin for error,

“A working credit card is hugely complex and, with real money moving around, there was very little margin for error,” the team explains. “Building Yonder involved securing FCA regulatory permissions as quickly as possible – which typically take up to 12 months – raising capital, and building a card that works 99.999% of the time.” 

The founders approached entrepreneurs who had set up other financial services businesses, as well as experts in individual fields like personal loans. They tapped up everyone in their network who could give advice, and weren't afraid to ask for help from others who had gone before them. 

The payoff has been considerable. The Yonder team landed an astonishing £62.5m in Series A funding – the largest consumer fintech round in Q2 2023, and a significant achievement given the challenging fundraising environment in Europe during that period. Investors to date include Northzone, LocalGlobe, RTP Global, and Sharmadean Reid. 

Of course, amid eye-watering interest rates and a gloomy economy, one might question the social good of adding yet another credit card provider into the mix for consumers who might struggle to take on debt. Reassuringly, Yonder's approach is customer-centric, with a sensitive goal of eliminating the stresses of debt. 

Members are encouraged to pay their bills in full each month, with options for weekly, fortnightly, or monthly payments. Interest and default terms are transparent, and 24/7 customer support is available.

Yonder’s founders have big ambitions for the future. In five years time, the company plans to be operating in multiple cities across the UK and Europe. Its long-term ambition is to grow into an extensive financial membership that allows you to experience the most from life, providing unparalleled, borderless access to credit – no matter where you are in the world.

With its innovative approach, Yonder might just be poised to reshape the credit card industry and provide consumers with a more empowering and stress-free credit experience.

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