Black-owned Banking App Helps Minorities Earn Cashback On Everyday Purchases And Build Financial Literacy

There is a short order of proceedings for most when it comes to financial development. The majority grow up, perhaps with a bit of pocket money from Mom and Dad, and go through education until eventually, they find themselves in an occupation where all of their earnings are transferred directly into their bank account. Job done.

But the story for the majority does not tell the whole story. It also relies on age and ethnic background as the variables on which financial education depends. In a time where a long-term position in the lower middle class seems as invaluable as ever, some innovators with expertise in both tech and banking believe they have found a vital tool to ingrain financial knowledge through practical means and stimulate social mobility. That’s where StoreCash, and its seminal founder Daricus Releford, come in.

StoreCash, on its face, is a simple prospect. Open up banking to minority and youth communities sooner, incentivized by the things they care about. Its appeal, however, is multifaceted, which is why Releford believes it is carving out a place in the market that traditional banks haven’t even noticed yet. “The neo-banking industry is taking over,” he proclaims. “We are providing stronger use cases without penalty fees because we don’t have the same burden as a brick and mortar bank.”

The first aspect of StoreCash’s attraction is in the immediate benefit it provides to its users. While it should be emphasized that the app is currently available to some 50,000 applicants on its waitlist, StoreCash enables those users, and soon the entire US public over the age of 13, to earn up to 15% cashback from purchases made in some of the most popular stores in America. Releford and co-founders Phani and Sheetal believe this creates a real, tangible benefit to users placing their trust in a bank, therefore encouraging financial literacy and providing a safe platform on which it can be built.

Returning to removing social barriers, the second key aspect to StoreCash is how it seeks to address deep-rooted issues within underrepresented communities through financial empowerment. It sounds ambitious, but Daricus Releford is intent on helping individuals within these communities answer questions that would appear easily solvable to many upper-middle-class or white citizens. Queries such as ‘How am I ever going to be able to afford a house?’ and ‘Will I ever pay off my student debt?’ are the ones that keep Releford up at night, and if StoreCash has one mission, it’s providing a tool to help answer those questions.

Understanding how exactly StoreCash manages requires a quick dip into the past of founder Daricus Releford. The full, fascinating story of Releford’s growth as an entrepreneur can be found on his website, but a series of successful ventures since the age of 12 led him to a career at a tech giant, which is where he found himself when his nephew Wil called to ask for money for a laptop. Releford, more than willing to help out, found that he could not do so, as Wil was neither over the age of 18 nor in possession of a bank account. Releford decided to create a solution himself, precluded from providing financial assistance to his family – something he had worked for so long to be in a position to do.

A natural and straightforward follow-on from the issue Daricus Releford had discovered, StoreCash allows teens and young adults to take part in banking and build their financial literacy. What is striking about the venture is the nobility of its cause in the dog-eat-dog tech sector, but by sending out StoreCash cards to these previously unbanked populations, Releford’s start-up is both providing a social benefit and cornering a section of the market in the neo-banking revolution.

It’s not just the unbanked that serve to prosper from the app, however. As a black-owned business, StoreCash endeavors to become an indispensable tool for the underbanked, too, of which African-Americans make up the largest proportion. Releford recognizes that the black population would benefit from the cashback that his app provides and that they need these funds to transform their communities to become more prosperous and financially liberated.

At StoreCash’s core, though, is the notion of trust. Daricus Releford recognizes that most banks and company founders are not made up of people who accurately represent the broader population of the US. As a result, users feel they cannot trust those in charge of their money, directly contravening Releford’s aim of financial literacy for all. By the time the book is closed on Releford’s career as an entrepreneur, he hopes to be a figure that underrepresented communities can point at and see hope, change, and themselves.