Online lending platform Avant is building out the breadth of services for its underbanked clients this week. The Illinois-based company acquired Zero Financial and its neobank Level for an undisclosed amount.
Level is built on the premise of helping users attain financial freedom. To differentiate itself from traditional financial services offerings, the digital bank offers cash back rewards on debit card purchases, a competitive APY on deposits, early access to paychecks, and no hidden fees.
As a result of today’s deal, Avant will be able to offer its 1.5 million customers access to Level’s digital banking services to augment its existing personal loan and credit card products. The additional banking products will also offer Avant access to more customer data which, in the end, will help in its underwriting process.
Avant CEO James Paris describes the move as “an important element” of the company’s strategy that involves providing underbanked consumers with financial products. “Expanding our product portfolio allows us to serve even more people, offering every consumer access to innovative and rewards-based products to simplify and improve their financial journey,” he added. “We’re looking forward to building on this acquisition and continuing to bring new products to our growing customer base.”
Current Level customers will still be able to make purchases, earn rewards, receive direct deposits to their account, and earn interest. While new customers cannot sign up for a Level account, they are able to join the wait list for Avant’s newly-branded banking product.
Avant was founded in 2012 and has since connected customers with more than $7.5 billion in loans and 400,000 credit cards. The company has raised more than $600 million in equity from investors including JP Morgan Chase and Hyde Park Venture Partners.