# Cushion Fintech Shifts Focus to BNPL Loan Management

Published 8 months ago

Cushion, a fintech company, has shifted its focus to managing buy now, pay later (BNPL) loans, as stated by its CEO, Paul Kesserwani. The shift comes as Kesserwani recognized the difficulty in managing multiple BNPL loans concurrently, a challenge faced by many consumers.

In 2020, Kesserwani himself turned to BNPL options to finance several household items. The complexity of tracking these payments inspired a change in Cushion’s business model. Prior to this, the company had focused on automated overdraft fee negotiation since its establishment in 2016.

The Rising Trend of BNPL

Analysis of Cushion’s customer data suggested a significant shift towards BNPL options. Customers were utilizing BNPL services not only for large purchases but also for everyday expenses such as meals, rides, and groceries. According to Bankrate, the average BNPL customer has four concurrent BNPL loans.

Data released by the New York Federal Reserve Bank suggests that many BNPL customers are financially vulnerable. BNPL use is notably higher among those with lower credit scores or those who have been recently rejected for a credit card.

Understanding the Shift in Consumer Billing

Kesserwani identified that the landscape of consumer bill pay has dramatically changed over the last two decades. In addition to traditional expenses such as rent and credit card bills, consumers now also have to manage numerous subscription services and BNPL loans.

The complexity of managing BNPL loans, each with distinct characteristics, added to the challenge of tracking subscriptions and other bills. Kesserwani noted that as bill pay becomes more complicated, consumers are more likely to make mistakes.

Cushion’s Solution to BNPL Era

To address this issue, Cushion developed a tool to help customers manage their BNPL loans, alongside other monthly account draws. Aggregating BNPL payments into a feed required significant engineering effort, as BNPL providers do not typically have application programming interfaces and use phone-based authentication.

The system was eventually built out after two years of rigorous work by a team specialized in machine learning. The team developed a method to reconstruct all of a customer’s loans by examining their email inbox.

Cushion also offers a credit-building virtual payment card, helping customers build credit by reporting their payments to the credit bureaus monthly. Kesserwani explained that most BNPL providers do not report to the credit bureaus, causing incomplete credit profiles for consumers. Cushion’s card aims to rectify this by providing credit history for customers’ BNPL payments.

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