Borrowell unlocks the secret of Canadians’ credit scores

Facebook-lead campaign aims to bring transparency to financial system

Danny Kucharsky September 15, 2016

Borrowell says its campaign to provide Canadians with free credit scores has raised awareness for the online lender and has let about 100,000 people discover their credit number.

The company launched its Free Credit Score program in late June at no-obligation, through a partnership with credit rating agency Equifax.

While Equifax and other credit rating firms like TransUnion offer limited credit reports to Canadians for free, they charge for credit scores, which are primarily used by lending institutions and not consumers.

“One of our missions is to increase transparency in Canadian banking and one of the best ways to increase transparency starts with the credit score,” says Jeff Goldenberg, head of growth at Borrowell. “We believe by making credit scores free and easy to acquire, people can improve their financial literacy” and financial standing.

He says only 14% of Canadians track their credit score regularly and “you can’t improve your credit score if you don’t know what it is.”

More than 50% of the requests for free credit scores have come as a result of a Facebook marketing program, with the rest from paid search, PR and organic.

“Hundreds of thousands of Canadians, the majority of whom didn’t know about the company, have learned about Borrowell and its free credit score offer on Facebook,” Goldenberg says.

“This is sort of an example of content marketing on steroids. We’re giving them something of cash value that was difficult to get before,” he says, “and building up a little bit of trust and value prior to saying ‘hey, we also loan money.’”

Goldenberg says Borrowell, which launched in Canada last year, has seen an increase in loan requests as a result of the free credit score program.

Borrowell is using a number of Facebook products to promote the free credit score program including video ads and its Canvas full-screen, immersive ad service for mobile usage.

The Facebook creative includes lines like “Knowing your credit score is the first step to understanding and improving it” and “31% of Canadians don’t know how to achieve a good credit score.”

The free credit score program is not available in Quebec.

Facebook has been the most effective paid acquisition channel in terms of number of conversions and cost per acquisition, Goldenberg says. It’s “been a really amazing platform for testing, learning and improving to get the acquisition cost within the range that we needed it to be. But I think we’ve only scratched the surface.”

Borrowell plans to launch a Facebook campaign with testimonials from Canadians who have checked their credit score and are relieved to find out it is good.

“Millions of Canadians should be checking their credit scores and we’re not going to rest until they do,” says Goldenberg.

Borrowell offers personal loans of $1,000 to $35,000 on unsecured debt with rates starting at 5.6% APR. Among its other services is credit card debt consolidation.

The fintech is backed by investors that include Equitable Bank, Power Corporation, David Chilton (of The Wealthy Barber and Dragons’ Den fame) and John Bitove of Sirius XM Canada.

GWP Brand Engineering is handling creative while Argyle Public Relationships  handles PR for Facebook
and often works with Facebook clients.