Detroit-based Glyph, a platform that helps users create a personalized credit card portfolio and manage their rewards and credit score, announced version 2.0 of its iPhone app today, as well as the launch of its new web app. The company launched in April 2012, and has since been helping its users keep track of both their in-store and online credit card purchases to maximize rewards and points, to date supporting over 300 credit cards.
Co-founders Mike Vichich and Tyler Felous were both consultants at Accenture before launching Glyph, and they spoke with BetaKit about the startup’s value proposition for both consumers and payment providers. “We exist to provide consumers with what we call ‘peace of wallet,’ and to us that means helping consumers make optimal financial decisions on every single transaction. It’s knowing someone’s got your back when you’re at the point-of-sale,” said Vichich in an interview. “To the business world, the payments world, we think of ourselves as the intelligent layer of the mobile wallet.”
The company partners with Yodlee Interactive for its apps, leveraging its API to access financial transactions and account data when users link their accounts. After analyzing purchasing trends and reviewing users’ reward goals, Glyph recommends three personalized credit cards. Its complementary iPhone app lets users check in to a retailer’s location, then makes recommendations on which card to use for that purchase to optimize rewards like cash back and Air Miles. It also alerts users of how many rewards or points they missed out on, in addition to providing reviews from other users on different credit cards.
“The way that the flow works is you fire up the app…and the screen says ‘you’re at Whole Foods for example and your Amex Blue Cash Preferred card is the best one to use because it gives you six percent rewards where as your other cards give you one percent at this merchant,” Vichich added. “The other thing it does now too, because we’re integrated with Yodlee, is that it’ll pull in your credit balance and also your credit utilization. Most people don’t realize if you have 30 percent of your credit utilized…if you exceed that and you do it consistently it’ll negatively impact your credit score.”
Since Glyph recommends credit cards to users, it makes a commission from financial institutions when a consumer applies for and is approved for one of those recommended cards. Vichich and Felous did both point out that the company’s primary focus is consumer advocacy, and while that may be true, consumers will want to make sure the cards are being recommended because they truly fit their financial situation, not because Glyph makes a larger commission on them.
If helping consumers maximize their credit card rewards sounds familiar, it’s because BetaKit has covered competitor Wallaby several times, most recently when it launched its iPhone app, which has similar functionality to Glyph. The company is also looking to launch its Wallaby Card, a physical card that routes all transactions through a user’s credit cards to maximize rewards, which is scheduled for release in early 2013, and means that users can swipe their card as they normally would and forego checking in on an app or having to proactively decide which card to use. However, Glyphs’s co-founders believe its services are more comprehensive in their approach in that it provides personalized recommendations for the optimal credit cards a user should have and which card to use, in addition to helping manage their credit score.
Whether Glyph’s ‘peace of wallet’ philosophy will resonate with consumers who are just getting used to the idea of mobile payments, app-based loyalty solutions, and digital wallets like Google Wallet, will depend on if they care enough about rewards to check in on yet another mobile app at the POS each time they make a purchase.