ScoresMatter was built on the principle that consumers everywhere should have access to the very same tools that big companies and financial entities use to make life-altering decisions about them.
After suffering attacks on their identity, Dennis James, Zack Bernato and Will Hakes began to focus on this mission. A company that started with providing credit scores to consumers quickly snowballed into something greater.
The idea for ScoresMatter was born after our CEO, Dennis James, went through a personal experience with identity theft. Due to a mail fraud ring that was running rampant in his own neighbourhood, Dennis had to shut down his bank account and actively monitor his financial accounts for three months to make sure it all cleared out. Even then, he was still receiving all kinds of unsolicited calls and emails; that’s when he decided to do something about it so that no one else had to go through the same hassle:
“This is when I knew I had to do something more than just deal with my personal headache. It was time for the consumer to have an equal playing field with those third parties who use your data for their own benefit and to KNOW when something is going wrong.” – Dennis James
With a background in marketing, lending, and data science, Dennis set his eyes on creating a service that could help prevent individuals from having a similar experience. He needed help though, and that’s when he turned to his colleagues Zack Bernato and Will Hakes. Both Zack and Will had faced similar issues with identity theft in the past and were passionately supportive of Dennis’s mission to ensure that consumers have access to the tools needed to take control of their online presence. That’s when ScoresMatter was born. The three conceived the idea to introduce a suite of tools that would better equip consumers to combat identity theft online, and that’s when the Dark Web Scan was introduced.
Dark Web Scan
Following their experiences with identity theft, the three set out to create a tool that could help consumers be proactive about the security of their identities. Knowing that millions of people have had their data stolen on the Dark Web, they knew something had to be done to take power away from these cybercriminals, and put it back into the hands of consumers:
“That’s why it’s critical – even if you check your credit, or have it frozen – to try to “know what the criminals know.” – Will Hakes
After extensive collaboration, they introduced the Dark Web Scan, designed to help consumers see if their information is actively for sale online so that they can take the necessary steps to prevent their data being used for identity fraud. They didn’t stop there, though. The team then set out to add the next innovative tool to the ScoresMatter suite: the Loan Affordability Assessment.
Loan Affordability Assessment
The origin of the loan affordability tool came about as we observed as both lenders and marketers to consumers, the group of people seeking credit online. -Dennis James
Historically, lenders have relied on consumers’ credit score to evaluate whether they should be given loans. However, in recent years, both regulators in the UK and in the US have put a loan affordability assessment requirement in place, where lenders are to look at the cash flows coming into a consumer’s account, as well as the discretionary and non discretionary (fixed) expenses. This calculation will yield a net cash flow number to the consumer each month from which they could have the disposable income to repay a loan. More recently, with open banking becoming more of a common practice in the United Kingdom and more sophisticated data science practices, this function can now be delivered in an automated way.
ScoresMatter is one of the first companies in the market providing a Loan Affordability assessment directly to the consumer that mimics the same evaluation criteria that the banks employ. Our scorecard takes into account performance data from thousands of transactions and calibrates the consumer’s ability to repay a loan based on the information that they provide in the application form. Additionally, it gives direct access to their bank details so that we can provide the most sophisticated score to the consumer while reflecting real-time data that is available. -Dennis James
ScoresMatter continued to evolve, driven by the same line of thinking. Why not give consumers access to the tools that companies and financial entities are using to make decisions about their lives? The natural evolution of this thought materialised in the form of the Social Profile and Score.
Social Profile and Score
“We looked back 20-25 years ago and how the credit report was only available to banks and merchants, but not the consumer. People had no idea what was being said about their financial habits or if their credit was being used by others. We noticed a similar pattern occurring with social media.” -Zack Bernato
The Social Profile and Score was designed to help users see how their social media activity impacts their day to day lives, including the offers and ads they receive for certain products online. After some heavy collaboration with social profile provider Hello Soda and integration to create a user-friendly environment, the Social Profile and Score tool was born. Now users can see what others see about them on social media and make active decisions to adjust it.
The founders of ScoresMatter created these tools to help consumers everywhere better their lives, and each one serves a different purpose. Whether it’s to ensure financial security, secure a loan, or discover when your information is compromised, ScoresMatter is there. Each tool is powered by people who have been through personal experiences that helped them envision a world where these scores aren’t just available to the consumer but that they matter to them as well.