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This millennial credit card executive had an epiphany about dating—now he has a romance app marrying credit scores with love



Luke Bailey was in Austin in November last year to host a launch party for his company’s new credit card, and trying to keep the crowd of thousands waiting in line happy. He started throwing out questions to cut through the anxiety that people often associate with talking about finance.

The one he came up with, “what the minimum credit score would be for someone you want to date,” cut through that wall immediately, Bailey told Fortune.

So soon after, Bailey, the CEO of lifestyle and finance platform Neon Money Club, launched a dating app with an unusual entry requirement: your credit score needs to be higher than 675. The app, appropriately called Score, launched earlier this week and if you blink you might miss it—it’s a pop-up set to disappear after 90 days. The goal, according to Bailey, is “to inject financial awareness into the fabric of everyday life.” 

Bailey, who started working in banking two decades ago and has held leadership positions at Citibank and JPMorgan Chase, said he wanted to make a platform that fosters connections based on mutual interests, but also on “financial compatibility, which can be an important factor in long-term  relationships,” he told Fortune in an email. Conversations on financial health  have “remained stagnant for decades,” according to the company. He also wants people to learn how to grow their money without needing to “learn the language of Banks,” according to a company statement. His platform is “flipping that approach,” and translating often complex language into information “for the masses.”

He has likened this approach to his upbringing in Philadelphia, where the kinds of clothes you wore signaled your status. “What if you could show off your investments? What if you could show off your financial wellness the same way you would show off a sneaker or show off a new piece of clothing,” he told AftoTech in a 2022 interview.

Besides that, he said, those topics can make for touchy discussions even outside the inherently awkward relationship between strangers hopeful for romance. 

Score seems to be filling a need for those looking to land a partner who they’re financially compatible with—people have taken to TikTok to express how normalizing your credit score on dating apps is something they’re here for. 

One user said she posted her excellent credit score on her Hinge profile and saw lots of potential suitors roll in. The TikTok she made now has over 15,000 shares, indicating this is  a conversation many more people are having. 

A high credit score can send important signals to people looking for love that lasts: namely, that a match is responsible, reliable, and stable. A Federal Reserve study found that people with higher credit scores were more likely to form and stay in committed relationships. It could be because maintaining a high credit score requires timely attention to bills, and the ability to budget and make regular payments on debt all of which are responsible behaviors. The study also found that people who matched based on credit scores could “reinforce income and consumption inequality across U.S. households.” 

Credit scores also influence how much someone can borrow for a mortgage,  as well their eligibility for auto insurance, cell phone plans, and rental housing—all areas that a potential couple might need to discuss. 

The app was born from Bailey’s idea to propel conversations about financial education—but between humans, instead of a person and their bank. He says his group, a Black-owned financial technology firm, is the first “brand to launch a dating app,” focused on financial health.

Score’s minimum credit  score, 675, is just below the average American credit score of 716. 

A high credit score, which reflects a person’s ability to borrow money rather than their wealth, is not as divisive as people may initially fear. Still, the app plays into a polarization that’s become increasingly common in America over the last half-century, in which people increasingly marry those of their own social class, educational background, and even political party. What’s more, by allowing only those with higher credit scores, the app risks further ostracizing communities of color, who historically have lower credit scores due to systemic oppression, lower access to  banking, and fewer financial resources than white peers.

According to the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research group that promotes social equity, the average credit score for adults aged 21-29 in majority Black communities was about 590; the score for those in majority-Hispanic communities was about 650; and for those in majority-white communities, about 684. Across all ages, the scores are slightly higher: 677 for Black people, 701 for Hispanic people, and 734 for white people. 

For those who are shy, or below the 675 requirement, the club offers resources on how to improve their scores and make the cut. The app also offers “those not qualified tools to get there,” Bailey said, through the group’s partnership with Grow Credit, a credit-building service. 

Signing up for the app won’t affect your credit score, and on the app, the precise scores are not shared, and so don’t influence matches, Fast Company reported

Tailored dating apps that take aim at specific communities have been sprouting on people’s phones for years now. There’s Salams, a Muslim-focused meetup app launched in 2015 and now has over 6 million users; BLK, a dating app for Black singles launched in 2017; Coffee Meets Bagel, aimed at singles who want a serious relationship; and Raya, which seeks to unify those in creative or social media professions. 

Then there’s the League, a dating platform geared towards Gen Zers who have eyes for success and ambition. Known as an app for the “elite,” the League charges $2,500 a month for its priciest “VIP” subscription, which offers users all the fish in 10 different cities’ dating pools, a consultation with a personal dating concierge, and more. It claims to have made over 2.6 million matches in 2023. 

Unlike some of these, Score is completely free—no additional membership costs required. The premium version of Coffee Meets Bagel, meanwhile, costs users between $20 and $34.99 per month. And while Hinge is free to download, many users suspect it hides top potential matches unless they pay one of their two-tier subscription fees ($32.99 or $49.99 per month). A wave of criticism hit Hinge after users grew frustrated by what they felt was algorithmic gatekeeping of their best potential matches (the group’s CEO denied pushing users into paid plans, saying matches were based on an individualized “taste profile.”) 

The last chance to score on the app will be in May, as Bailey said the platform is a “limited pop-up to test out this new entry into the dating landscape,” after which the Neon Money Club plans to measure its success. The group offers other other financial products, like its credit card, called The Cream Card, which lets users convert credit card points into stock investments that the club matches.

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