As of 2019, approximately 63 million Americans were either unbanked or underbanked, putting these individuals at a financial disadvantage compared to their counterparts with bank accounts.
Of these 63 million Americans, many are immigrants, with language barriers and cultural differences oftentimes limiting their ability to fully participate in the economy — an Austin, Texas-based financial company is working to solve that issue, by developing the first multilingual digital banking system specifically geared toward immigrants and individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP).
“We appreciate the complexity and challenges faced by minorities, particularly in overcoming language barriers and improving financial literacy,” said Dennis Larionov, the CEO of Restart Financial Inc. “Restart is the first step in financial inclusion for new-to-country customers and a lifesaver for those who have been living in the United States for several years and find it difficult to be a part of the English-centric banking ecosystem.”
The company has launched an app called Restart, which provides users with online banking services in both English and their native language — currently, the app only serves Russian-speaking individuals, however the company plans to expand its language offerings during the last quarter of 2021 and through early 2022. The company plans to begin including services in Ukrainian, Kazakh, Armenian, Belarusian, and Polish later this year, and will also work toward developing Mandarin and Vietnamese services in 2022.
Although Restart is a digital bank, it will offer most of the same services that traditional banks offer, such as debit card issuance, fund transfers, the ability to establish and improve a credit score, and also offers free ATM withdrawals at more than 30,000 ATMs across the country.
“Now, it is as convenient as downloading the Restart app, opening an account in just a few minutes and ordering a debit card,” Larionov said. “And in seven working days the card will be in your mailbox.”