ReadyForZero adds secure payments to its already kick ass debt management service

By Michael Carney , written on October 15, 2012

From The News Desk

In a world drowning in debt, it’s no surprise that there have been a rash of financial management platforms introduced in the last few years. While many have succeeded in allowing users to visualize and organize debt, few have given them the tools to intelligently manage and reduce that debt.

ReadyForZero is one exception to this rule and today, the company is adding a pro option its already popular service that will offer secure online payments – a first in the industry. Now, rather than simply receiving payment recommendations within the app, subscribers to the $4.99 ReadyForZero Plus can instantly take action by processing payments within the app.

Users of the service begin by securely linking all their personal financial data to the platform, from which the platform delivers personalized real-time financial recommendations, based on a user’s transaction, payment, deposit, and other financial behaviors.

“ReadyForZero Plus uses bank technology to tell you what banks don’t tell you.” says co-founder and CEO Rod Ebrahimi. “We will detect, for example, a new checking deposit and tell you exactly how much interest and time you will save by making an extra payment to one of your debts, before you spend it elsewhere.”

The technical hurdles in debt management and payments processing are non-trivial. The company uses Mastercard’s remote payment processing service (RPPS), which allows it to manage debts from over 10,000 lenders. The only type of commonly held debt not supported by the service are utilities and taxes. ReadyForZero has also partnered with a bank to which it passes payment instructions for final implementation.

ReadyForZero has raised $4.78 million in outside financing from Polaris Venture Partners, Citi Ventures, 500 Startups, Steve Chen, Benjamin Ling, Nils Johnson, Maneesh Arora, and Y-Combinator.

The ten person startup is working on a number of additional feature enhancements, including recurring payments and bi-weekly payments. The service is currently available as both a Web and iOS mobile app.

The startup's users are everyday Americans, as demonstrated by the fact that their mean credit score of 690 is exactly that of the nation at large. In the more than 18 months since its launch, ReadyForZero has helped its several thousands of users pay down more than $25 million in debt. The company currently has more than $350 million in debt under management, a number that is growing organically up to 15 percent per month.

“In the United States, consumers manage over $2.4 trillion in debt on their own and make approximately $2.6 billion in payments annually to service this debt,” says Ebrahimi. In this type of environment, ReadyForZero’s new payments feature comes at absolutely the right time.