Charlie Gives Retirees Early Access to SS Benefits

Charlie Gives Retirees Early Access to SS Benefits
Interface: The Charlie platform.

This article has been revised from the original version.

Payments from the Social Security Administration are the largest source of income for many retirees. While the U.S. still lags most developed countries in the amount of money given to retirees, it’s the country’s foundation of support for retired individuals.

Century City-based Charlie recently launched its platform to give retirees a specialized banking service with early access to their Social Security benefits. The financial technology startup announced a $7.5 million venture funding round at the beginning of May.

“If you’re the typical person who’s producing income and generating savings, the banking system serves you well as an accumulator,” Charlie co-founder and Chief Executive Kevin Nazemi said. “But if you’re somebody who is 62 (or older) and trying to make the most of a limited set of resources … there really isn’t much for you.”

Charlie customers sign up for a branded Visa debit card issued by the company’s banking partner, Ohio-based Sutton Bank. Social Security payments are uploaded to the account through direct deposit. Charlie’s main offering is early access to Social Security payments. A user can request early disbursement of their benefits at the beginning of a month, and they pay no interest or service fee. Charlie is repaid whenever the next Social Security payment is deposited into the user’s Charlie account. There are no member fees or minimum balance requirements, and users currently earn 3% earnings on average monthly balances. It plans to roll out a discount offering for individuals who use its card at participating businesses. 

Charlie makes its revenue as a portion of the service fees that businesses are charged when accepting a Charlie card as payment. Nazemi said that this new funding will go towards investing in its team and platform.

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