USC Junior Michael Broughton Helps More Students Afford College


Tristan- “Tell me a little bit about the problem you are trying to solve at Credit Starter.”

Michael- “We are actively working with college students day in and day out finding solutions for them to build up their credit scores. One of the main reasons for these difficulties is from regulations such as the Credit Card Act of 2008, lack of understanding and education in schools.”

Tristan- “What inspired you to start Credit Starter while at USC?”

Michael- “I came into USC during my freshman year, I am a junior now. I come from a family of 9 and my dad was in the military for 25 years, so I was independent growing up. I have been working since I was 13 and continue to work until this day. I had to pay my own way to college, including travel, books, laptops, etc. When looking for a student loan, I could not get one because I did not have any credit. When talking to banks, they said I had to have a credit card to start building up credit. Then when I searched for a credit card, they said I needed credit for that too. This whole process seemed unbelievable to me and I figured there had to be a better way. I started working with James and others on campus and figured out that tuition can be used to build a credit score. Because of this, we’ve developed the first nontraditional way of building credit without access to the traditional means.”

Tristan- “How is Credit Starter providing value to the consumer?”

Michael- “Students are now able to be independent and build their finances and credit score without any of the troubles that come with other means such as getting into debt. Streamlining the whole process creates ease for users and decreases risk.”

Tristan- “Can you tell me a little bit about your team?”

Michael- “I started the business as a sole founder and now have two co-founders in Melanie and Ayush who have been great in helping me build the business and expanding to help more students.”

Tristan- “What are your plans for the future?”

Michael- “This year was a really big year for us, as we were focusing on proving the concept. No one is doing what we do right now and we just recruited our first cohort of students. Students with no credit scores were getting up to around 670 (considered “good”) after about two weeks. Those with credit scores had an average increase of around 50-100. It was phenomenal to see that what we were doing was working. After this, we went straight into selling direct contracts to universities. This is going to be a big year for showing our face and gaining notability. We recently completed a fundraising round of $250,000 and that went really well. We have our eyes on another round and hope to expand to all of California in the near future.”