Budgeting and financial comparison platform Status recently made a tweak to its business model. Company Founder and CEO Majd Maksad recently sent an email to users saying that the company launched a premium membership option.
The app will still offer free access but the premium membership unlocks advanced features and the ability to earn cash rewards for simply using the app. Interestingly, the premium membership will be income-based. Maksad explained, “The app remains free for everyone– but depending on your income, you may be asked to make a contribution to access the Premium features and rewards. You can choose your own contribution amount based on what you think is fair.”
Users can choose contribution levels ranging from $1 per month to $20 per month. However, if the user opts to contribute $1 or $2 per month, they receive a message saying, “A little goes a long way. Please consider contributing $3 or more.”
The premium option unlocks most of the features users were previously enjoying for free. In the screenshot below, the yellow locks in the sidebar show the features behind the paywall.
Status noted that it didn’t take lightly the decision to add a fee. However, the company said that the additional revenue is “crucial” for it to develop new features. “Any contribution you choose to make will also help us continue serving lower income members for free,” Maksad added.
Status’ main business model relies on referral partnerships with companies including Airbnb, AllState, Liberty Mutual, Betterment, VSP, and Haven Life. However, with the VC funding forecast looking bleak, the company probably realized it needed an alternative way to generate capital in order to stay afloat and invest more into the product.