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First-Ever Free Credit-Building App For Students

Photo courtesy of Perch

Michael Broughton was coming into college at USC, he was $10,000 short on his tuition. He was the first in his family to go to a school like that. He went to a bunch of lenders and they all said the same thing — your family’s finances aren’t great, and you have no credit.

The 22-year-old entrepreneur from Los Angeles is now the CEO and founder of Perch Credit.

As an incoming college student unable to receive any loans due to a non-existent credit score of his own, Broughton knew how difficult navigating the ins and outs of personal finance is by yourself, especially as a young Black man. That’s why he and his team worked together to create Perch, an app that combats the frustrating process of credit building and allows users to build credit nontraditionally by reporting payments on things like rent and Netflix accounts.

Perch successfully closed a $2.5-million seed funding round and launched their app with the goal of helping more than 100,000 people build their credit score for free.

Broughton has made it his mission it is to help lower the barriers of credit building and help bridge the gap in the credit space.

Perch, whose new mobile application lets college students and other
young adults build up their credit score at no cost, has just graduated from the three-month Y Combinator summer program.

Based in Los Angeles, Perch is introducing the first-ever free credit-building app for students. Created for students by students, the new app is designed to help young people overcome the frustrating process of credit building by using untraditional data, such as rent payments and other recurring expenses like subscriptions to Netflix and Spotify, to instantly establish credit or enhance an existing credit score.

Perch’s process is simple. It furnishes a user’s on-time payment information, going as far back as two years, to its U.S. credit bureau partners. Once that data is submitted, customers may see a significant increase in their credit score within just two weeks – much faster (and cheaper) than what it takes to build credit through the use of a credit card or by getting a loan.

“Our mission at Perch is to eliminate the barriers to credit building, including the crazy chicken-and-egg cycle of needing credit to get credit,” said Broughton. “We’re allowing students to use some of the everyday payments they’re already making as proof of their creditworthiness, which provides a seamless process for establishing and improving one’s credit without having to go into debt for it.”

Perch is aiming to get more people, especially people of color, to take earlier control of their credit and begin living their best possible lives financially. In addition to credit building services, the app will also provide educational tools to help its users achieve their savings and financial literacy goals.

“Our hope is to help build a bridge for greater diversity in tech and, in doing so, eliminate the biases that propagate economic inequality for underrepresented minorities,” says Broughton, who studied business at the University of Southern California. He established Perch in 2019 with business partner Ayush Jain, a serial entrepreneur who earlier co-founded the drone delivery company DronesDash. Jain is now Perch’s chief technology officer.

Perch is currently in the process of onboarding its first wave of users to its free credit-building service. Students can sign up now in less than a minute and be put on a waitlist for the Perch app. Approximately 22,000 people have already joined. To sign up, visit

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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