Sift, an app that helps customers redeem credit card benefits and files automated claims on its users’ behalf, is now looking to advise these users on which credit card best suits their lifestyle.
Sift CEO Abhinav Dubey told Bank Innovation the feature will launch by the end of 2017.
The appp, which launched not too long ago in March 2017, found it’s sweet spot in unraveling the hidden benefits that credit cards offer.
“This space is like an iceberg,” Dubey said. “Cash-back, frequent flyer miles and purchase points are the benefits that most customers are aware of, because that’s the part of the iceberg that’s visible. But there’s so much more, that’s where we come in. Everyone is focused on pre-purchase benefits, we found our market in the post-purchase space.”
For example, Dubey explained, most credit cards provide some level of purchase protection and cost protection, an important focus point for Sift. Another area of interest is the travel space. Sift saw the potential in this area and launched a travel benefits features.
“Many people don’t know that if your flight is delayed for 5 hours or more that most of the big credit cards provide some compensation, sometimes as much as $500,” he said. “So, when that happens to one of our users, the app automatically files a claim on their behalf.”
Sift gets a percent of that claim. However, Dubey said that might change as he is in the process of exploring alternative ways for Sift to make money.
In addition to purchase protection and travel benefits, the app also keeps tracks of warranties. Sift also dabbles in some pre-purchase areas. For instance, it tells users which card to use for a specific purchase. If you are renting a car, say, Sift will tell you which of your credit cards will get you the best rate for that rental.
This feature is not unlike that of provided by Wallaby Card of Wallaby Financial, which was acquired by Bankrate in 2014 for an undisclosed amount.
The Sift app is free to download for both Android and iOS users. The way it works is by extracting data available through a user’s email address or Amazon credit history.
The new credit card recommendation feature will also use this data and advise the user about what credit card will reap the maximum benefits based on their purchase patterns.
“For instance, say we see that a lot of your transactions are travel related,” Dubey said, “Then based on that we would recommend the cards that have the best benefits for travelers.”
Aside from recommending credit cards, Dubey has a list of additional features, he is looking to unveil by the end of the year. One such feature is the Live Chat Box. Another one is incorporating paper receipts.
“Right now, our information is extracted from the users’ digital receipts,” he said, “We are working on how we can enable users to transfer their information from paper receipts to the app, so we can help them unlock benefits and file claims based on those purchases.”
Sift already has $1.5 million in seed funding from Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures. The firm has backed financial service companies including Mint and Credit Karma, said Dubey.
Sift is not looking for additional funding, yet.
“For now, our goal is to get out and show people that there’s a lot of value in what Sift can provide,” Dubey said.
Sift has already made some noise in the app world. Shortly after its launch, Apple listed it in“new apps to love.”
“We were also featured alongside Pokémon and Sonic. And then again in the ‘top 30 finance apps’ a couple months ago,” Dubey said. “That felt like a feat to me.”
The fundamental goal of Sift is to promote transparency and improve customer experience, Dubey explained.
“We are trying to level the playing field. Ultimately, this is good for both the bank and the customer,” he said.
Right now, these unused benefits are cost-drivers for banks. However, with fintechs like SoFi increasingly crossing over to banking territory, banks need to focus on improving transparency if they want to create a sustainable and loyal customer base, especially among millennials.
And apps like Sift cater exactly to that philosophy.