ThriveCash is taking the predatory nature out of student loans and it’s coming to our campus

Fast cash with zero interest rate? Where do I sign up??

When ThriveCash founder Deepak Rao came to the U.S from India to study at Stanford in 2009, he arrived with great drive and ambition but very little money. Although his multiple jobs as a Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant funded his tuition and his housing, Rao found himself unable to go out with friends, take a senior trip or on days when campus dining was closed, even unable to buy food.

"No one takes a bet on your potential…but on your history" Rao told the Tab. As college students, it's difficult to build up a history that the bank really cares about, as many students will not have a credit score or even if they do, they don't have a chance to build up a score that banks would consider sufficient.

That drives the motivation behind ThriveCash. The company – who have just raised $2 million in investment – have developed an application that aims to take the predatory nature out of student lending, by offering small cash loans to students without charging interest. According to the Student Loan Report, approximately 70% of college students will graduate with student debt, with the cumulative National Student Loan Debt equally $1.41 trillion in 2017. That means that an average student with loans will graduate with over $31,000 of debt.

So with the pressure of that debt, many students will either be hesitant to spend money on non-essentials or not even have the opportunity to think that way. ThriveCash wants students to be able to enjoy their college experiences and takes a bet on the potential of students who may not have a lot now, but will be making money after graduation.

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Here's how the app works: let's say you're a junior who has a paid internship offer for the summer. But in order to take that internship, you need to put down a deposit on some form of summer housing before you start. You can submit your internship offer to ThriveCash, they'll assess that you will be liquid and after choosing a payment program that does not start until you start work, you receive the cash. The whole process takes one or two days.

"It's an application intended for juniors and seniors who have internship or job offers and are seeking cash. It's a cash advance based on your job offer…you forward your digital job offer, they validate it and determine that you're going to be liquid in the next coming months. The second thing is that you pick how much money you want to take out – up to $2000 – and you pay it back after your job starts" said Ben Marans, the NYU student who is partnering with Deepak and helping to bring the app to our campus.

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Marans – a junior in CAS whose own start-up 'TABu ' was a finalist in the 300K challenge at Stern last year – became a part of the start-up after seeing a posting on [email protected]. He immediately reached out to Deepak, keen to be involved. Five days later, the two got coffee and this partnership began.

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Marans co-founded TABu last year, which allows you to control your bar tab with a touch of a button

The app charges a simple fee for the service which is only due after you start working. They are also developing different pricing tiers when it comes to repayment, with the understanding that not all students will begin working at the same time.

With many NYU students having already used the app in 'stealth mode', ThriveCash is now live at NYU for all students to use.

"Over the last couple months, hundreds of students have used ThriveCash to pay for summer housing, spring break, Greek life and club semesterly dues, plane tickets for a senior trip or simply to have extra cash on hand during the month," Marans told the Tab.

NYU Stern student Rachel Rub was one of those who used the app in stealth mode, telling the Tab that ThriveCash "just makes more sense. If you know you will have a certain amount of money in the future, but you need or want money now, why shouldn't it be available to you? With Thrive, it is!"

Rao – whose wife attended NYU – describes New York as the "perfect place to start out the app." Our self-proclaimed spread-out campus means not only that a certain level of day to day spending is necessary – think about how many students take the subway everyday to get to campus – but it also means we have a wealth of experiences to enjoy in New York City. Yet many of us do not have the opportunity to do that, despite working desperately hard to get internships and post-graduation employment. ThriveCash is giving young hard-working college students this opportunity and is valuing their potential, rather than their past.

ThriveCash is available for free download on the App Store now. Use code 'nyu' to get started.

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