Pesto recently announced the launch of its first product Pesto Mastercard issued by Continental Bank, the first credit card that enables customers to use valuables as collateral to secure a credit card. And Activant Capital, Plural, and others invested $11 million in Pesto to build a solution for Americans that offers a pathway to rebuild or establish credit at lower rates.
Consumers send Pesto their assets and they are provided with a credit card based on their value, regardless of credit score. And over time, cardholders who often don’t qualify for an unsecured credit card have the ability to increase their credit score and eventually qualify for one. Pesto Mastercard offers rates similar to existing credit cards, which are substantially lower than what pawn and payday loan clients typically pay.
The U.S. pawn shop market had generated close to US$ 9.2 billion in interest revenue in 2019. And over 6 million underbanked Americans currently rely on high-interest-rate loans to provide cash and liquidity, with average interest rates at more than 120%. Plus Pesto was founded in 2020 to provide a solution for Americans that offers a pathway to rebuild or establish credit at lower rates.
Savoldelli had founded the company after studying financial inclusion and how consumers with few options use pawnshops for repeat borrowing and not just emergency situations. And he spent time working in a pawn shop to understand the industry firsthand, which led him to the idea of the asset-backed credit card.
Pesto plans to use the funding to expand its customer base across the US, with an initial focus on Atlanta and Los Angeles. And the company has raised funding from notable investors, including; Activant Capital, Plural, Sozo Ventures, Commerce Ventures, NJF Capital, Soma Capital, NOMO Ventures, Commerce Ventures, Human Capital, OVO Fund, OEL Ventures, Core Innovation Capital, Great Oaks VC, and Y Combinator.
“Our first product, Pesto Mastercard, offers interest rates at only a fraction of today’s alternatives, often 90% less than many equivalent pawn loans. It’s a paradigm shift in the credit card market, with the potential to truly democratize credit. Pesto is on a mission to help all Americans find an alternative to high interest rate loans by providing a straightforward way to secure liquidity and build credit through their assets without having to sell them.”
— James Savoldelli, founder and CEO of Pesto
“Existing loan products don’t do enough to help these consumers become more financially free. We are passionate about supporting Pesto’s mission to make lending more affordable, safe, and accessible.”
— Nathan Morgan, Continental Bank’s Founder & CEO
“Millions of Americans are defaulting to predatory loans as inflation raises household expenses and banks tighten lending to low FICO customers. We’re excited to back the Pesto team on their mission to fix America’s debt trap pandemic and offer a path to a more secure, credit-backed financial future.”
— David Yang, Partner at Activant Capital
“Access to credit remains one of the most glaring and unnecessary sources of inequality. The lack of federal regulation and our outdated appraisal of creditworthiness leaves the most fragile populations prey to predatory lenders. Pesto’s innovation can be the lever that can help lift millions of people from systemic and unnecessary financial distress, and James has the devotion required to scale its impact.”
— Khaled Helioui, co-founder of Plural