Ann Arbor app that pays users to learn about finances raises $5 million in latest funding round

Plinqit, an Ann Arbor app company that pays users for learning about personal finances, recently raised $5 million in its latest Series A funding round. Plinqit founder and CEO Kathleen Craig says the support will further Plinqit's goal to improve people's financial wellness.

"Every time we have a user who successfully reaches their goal of saving for the first time, or learns about their credit score through our Build Skills module, that's success for us," Craig says. "We're really grateful for this capital, which will allow us to reach more customers, which then reaches more end users and furthers our mission."

Plinqit users begin by creating a Plinqit account and linking it to an existing bank account. They can set up to five financial goals, decide how often and how much to save, and receive rewards for referring friends and learning financial skills.

Plinqit makes money licensing its app to banks and credit unions. Among Plinqit's customers are Brooklyn, Mich.-based Bank of Michigan (which was among the earliest adopters), Chelsea State Bank, and Traverse City-based 4Front Credit Union. Plinqit helps banks roll the app out to their current employees and customers, and then helps them acquire new app users and new bank customers.

Craig, a former vice president of e-services at United Bank and Trust in Ann Arbor, formed Plinqit in 2013. She recognized that as more and more people were embracing online banking services, there would be a need for digital tools to support them. She started raising capital in earnest in 2016.

"This is a unique app that works. Over time we've been able to really prove out, adjust the platform, and get to the point where 80% of Plinqit users successfully reached their savings goal," Craig says. 

Craig says Plinqit is for anyone who wants to save money or wants the financial flexibility of not living paycheck to paycheck. Her father is using the app to save for a new water heater and Craig herself recently saved enough money to buy her daughter a bicycle as a high school graduation gift. During the pandemic Craig also heard from users whose work hours were cut, but were able to survive because of an emergency savings cushion that was set up through Plinqit. 

"Our company truly believes that if you get a flat tire and you have $500 in savings, that flat tire feels completely different than if you're paycheck to paycheck and have to use a high-interest credit card or a payday lender to fix your car to get to work," she says. "Being able to provide financial security for people is something we're really thankful for."

Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at jaishreeedit@gmail.com.

Image courtesy of Plinqit.