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The LGBTQ+ community experiences unique challenges in the banking world. Often, these challenges directly stem from identity-related concerns. According to a 2018 survey by Experian, 62% of LGBTQ respondents reported having experienced challenges with their personal finances because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
While the banking world might like to think it’s progressive and welcoming to the queer community, it’s the queer community that often gets sidelined when banking policies fail to not only address, but also respect, their full and authentic queer selves.
Thankfully, some disruptors in the banking world are making moves to address the queer community’s major financial pain points. These banks and services openly challenge everything from naming conventions on credit cards and debit cards to loans and financial education.
As the queer community has long relied on peers to provide them with the best advice, the upstarts below may prove that the queer community can finally begin to rely on banks to honor their identities and consider them peers in a banking relationship.
1. Be Money
Knowing that the LGBTQ+ community faced myriad challenges in the banking world, CEO and founder Rob Curtis wondered how he could change that. As a gay man and seasoned professional in the startup world, he knew first-hand how grossly underserved the queer community is—and across all sectors.
“Our community has almost $1 trillion in spending power in the U.S., and yet 53% of LGBTQ+ people struggle to maintain regular savings,” he says. “Despite that, LGBTQ+ people have a wide and diverse range of goals that they need financial help to achieve, which include surrogacies, gender transitions or even retiring in a queer-friendly beach town.”
Digital banking platform Be Money wants to help the LGBTQ+ community achieve all its financial goals. While still in the pre-customer phase, Curtis says that, in the fourth quarter of 2020, Be Money stands poised to launch a fintech company that aims to take the awkwardness out of traditional banking and transform the way that LGBTQ+ people think about their money.
Be Money is Curtis’s third LGBTQ+ startup. What he noticed is that big banks have complex systems and solutions tailored for specific audiences that can feel bolted-on, or in the case of the LGBTQ+ community, “have a rainbow sticker slapped on it.” Be Money is designed with inclusivity in mind from the get-go to fix a banking system that, as Curtis says, “wasn’t designed for us.”
“In addition to higher fees, we experience impersonal and insensitive services when we…