They say you are not a registered citizen unless you have your own identity card with you. The next step in validating yourself as an independent individual is when you have access to your very own bank account. You feel safe, comforted, secure and independent once you have your hands on these two essentials, with of course the addition of a valid passport. However, what do you do when you plan on moving somewhere and feel like you would have to start all over again in terms of getting an ID card made, sort you finances and deal with the hassle of obtaining a bank account? In comes Sable which is a challenger bank providing free bank accounts and credit cards to internationals who are moving or have moved to the United States. I talk to Naveen Qureshi who is the co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Sable. She moved from Toronto to New York for business school and experienced the challenges of the US financial system as an immigrant first-hand. Her Canadian credit history or financial products didn’t help her get a bank account or credit card just south of the border. “Not having a bank account that you can transfer money to before you move means carrying cash with you during your move. Not being able to get a bank account for weeks or months while in the US means having to store cash at home. Both are obviously a huge security concern. Additionally, immigrants need to start building US credit history immediately upon moving to the US. Not having a US credit history means inability to get a phone plan, inability to rent an apartment without six-12 months down payment and inability to get a mortgage later down the road,” Naveen Qureshi says while talking exclusively to Daily Times. Qureshi had run product and process at Capital One before moving to business school and was an expert at credit cards. At business school, she met Towers Wilen, who had been at American Express in NYC for multiple years, running product strategy and business development as well as Andrej Paule who had gone through the same challenges as her when he moved to NYC from Europe. Together, they started diving into the problem Qureshi presented to them in more detail to understand the full scope of it. Qureshi, Towers Wilen and Andrej Paule spoke to 300 immigrants in person to identify the customer problem, determined the market size, spent weeks understanding regulations, assessed revenue streams and started partnering with banks and alternate data service providers to create an underwriting model. When they realised that the problem was one every immigrant to the US experienced and the landscape was such that they could make a huge impact, they founded Sable, a mobile bank for internationals who move to the US. ‘Not having a bank account that you can transfer money to before you move means carrying cash with you during your move. Not being able to get a bank account for weeks or months while in the US means having to store cash at home. Both are obviously a huge security concern,’ Naveen Qureshi says while talking exclusively to Daily Times They then brought on Joseph Finlayson as CTO, who had worked as lead engineer creating and scaling financial platforms with McKinsey for some of the largest banks in Europe. What sets Sable apart from other fintechs is that there are a handful of challenger banks that have come out in the last few years in the US and globally, however, Sable is different because it provides a full suite of banking and credit products catered towards immigrants, unlike some of its competition that do financial products for US citizens. Before Sable, it was impossible for internationals to get a bank account and credit card before moving to the US, and almost impossible to get one after moving to the US. Qureshi, who is an expert in fintech field, created the proprietary credit risk model that allows immigrants to get US credit without having a US credit history! And created a way to allow customers to sign-up all through a mobile app in under five minutes without the need of a social security number. Both these things are super innovative, first of its kind in the US / world. The biggest benefits Sable provides to its customers is access to basic financial services, the security that comes with it, and the ability to build US credit history immediately. Additionally, Sable has some of the lowest rates in the industry and customers can send and receive money for free. Sables benefits are specifically geared towards solving the needs of their immigrant customer base. “We launched a pilot of bank accounts and credit cards back in August 2019 and raised a seed round in Oct 2019. We launched our initial products: checking and secured credit card to the public in the Apple app store in November 2019. So, anyone who was moving or had moved to the US could apply for a checking account and credit card and get access to them in under five minutes, all through their mobile app! We then launched debit cards in January, 2020. We are currently on our way to launch an Android Sable app and unsecured credit cards in February and March 2020 respectively,” Qureshi said. Qureshi, who is an expert at Sable leads the product. She created the proprietary credit risk model that allows immigrants to get US credit without having a US credit history! And created a way to allow customers to sign-up all through a mobile app in under five minutes without the need of a social security number. Both these things are super innovative, first of its kind in the US / world! The noteworthy thing here is that the value Sable provides to immigrants is their ability to get bank accounts and also the ability to start building credit history before they even move to the US – which allows them other benefits such as renting apartments, getting phone plan, getting a mortgage. Sable went through Y Combinator and finished raising seed fund in Oct 2019. “We’re live on the Apple app store so that any Pakistanis who live in / are moving to the US can get a bank account and credit card! Android App comes out in Feb,” she says.