I think payday loans are deeply problematic. But my company sells short-term loans that look similar and serve the same customers. Last week, Google banned ads for payday loans. Yet earlier this year, Google Ventures (GV) invested in my company, LendUp.
Obviously, this sounds like a lot of contradiction. But the truth is even though we were surprised by the announcement and would have taken a different approach, LendUp and Google agree on a fundamental fact: The current payday loan industry is bad for Americans. Google is applying pressure from the outside, and we applaud them. Meanwhile, LendUp is trying to change the system from the inside, and we have evidence that our technology can create better products for the same customers.
Okay, I know “make the world a better place by selling short-term loans” can sound absurd. If you’re skeptical of our intentions — or just want to better understand exactly how crazy America’s credit system is — please read on.
Remainder of post on Medium.