NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Pillar, a personal finance startup offering the easiest and most effective way for people to save money, manage, and pay off their student loans, has launched a new feature for the holidays called Boost. Boost is the first gifting platform for consumers exclusively dedicated to paying off student loan debt. With Boost by Pillar, a person's friends and family can make payments towards their loved one's student loans. Pillar automatically applies these crowdfunded payments directly towards the user's student loan debt, which helps them get out of debt faster and save money. For example, a $500 contribution from friends and family during the holidays could help users save $1,000 in interest on their loans. This novel feature helps address the outstanding debt that is weighing down millions of families this holiday season.
The Pillar app analyzes a person's loans, income, and spending patterns to determine the fastest way to pay off debt. With Pillar, people make in-app payments towards multiple loans from one central dashboard and get updates on new ways to pay off their loans more effectively. Today, users have already linked over $250M worth of student loans to the platform. The average borrower on Pillar has saved $6,200 and four years on repayment. Unlike student loan lenders, which are in the business of making money by keeping students in debt longer, Pillar's mission is to get users out of debt faster.
Student loan debt is the second-largest type of consumer debt with 45M borrowers in the United States owing more than $1.7 trillion in student loans. 7 out of 10 students take out loans to pay for college and the average person graduates school with $30,000 in debt, which takes them 15-20 years to pay off. Many people feel uncomfortable talking about their student loans with others. Boost destigmatizes the notion that student debt is a bad thing. Instead, it's an easy and secure feature that allows friends and family to make contributions directly into student loan accounts at a time when gifting is top of mind for everyone.
"One in four American households carry student loan debt, which makes purchasing gifts or spending extra during the holidays particularly difficult," says Michael Bloch, Founder & CEO at Pillar. "Boost helps destigmatize this debt and brings the conversation mainstream, while also providing a simple way for friends and family to contribute towards their loved one's financial well-being. This is just one step towards a suite of tools that Pillar will offer to help people get out of debt faster and save money," says Bloch.
Boost by Pillar will run from December 17, 2019, through January 6, 2020. During the first seven days of its launch, Pillar will be surprising some Boost users with extra payments towards their student loans. These gifts from Pillar will range from $25- $250. Pillar will gift a total of $5,000 to users' student loan debt. To qualify, users must set up a Boost page through the Pillar app. They are also encouraged to follow Pillar on Instagram for updates on how to increase their chances to receive a gift.
Anyone can download and sign up for Pillar in just two minutes here for iOS, and here for Android, where they can join the tens of thousands of people actively using the Pillar app to pay off student loan debt. Registered users can then create their Boost campaign by doing the following:
- Login to your Pillar account. Not a Pillar user? Create an account and proceed to step 2 once you get access.
- Tap the menu icon in the upper left-hand corner and select "Raise Money"
- Enter a dollar amount for how much money you are looking to raise
- Tell your story - let your friends and family know why you're raising money for your loans
- Add a photo of yourself for good measure
- Share with your loved ones!
Abi, a 22-year-old first-year medical student on the West Coast, has been using the Pillar app over the last few months to make student loan payments and signed up for Boost this holiday. "This year for the holidays I'm asking for the gift of knowledge! I am so grateful to be a medical student but this profession comes with a lot of debt. I'm so excited to share Pillar's Boost feature with my family and friends so that they can support me while I continue my education – a gift that shows how much they care about my goals. Without Boost, I would definitely not be able to ask for student loan help—but I think this is a fun and interactive way to ask for something I actually need!"
Brittany, a 33-year-old executive assistant from Suffield, CT has been focused on paying back her student loans with Pillar ahead of starting a family with her wife, Bethany. She signed up for Boost this holiday in hopes of making more progress in paying down her debt. "This year, instead of asking for gifts for Christmas, I'm asking for contributions to help me pay off my student loans. Bethany and I are beginning the process of starting a family, and I want to be free and clear of student loans to focus on the expenses of growing a family! It will truly be a huge blessing and the greatest gift you can give us this holiday season!"
Aaron, a 39-year-old architect from Washington DC has been focused on paying off his student loans so that he can prioritize saving for his daughter's education. He signed up for Boost to continue working on paying off his loans faster. "My wife and I just had our first child, and I'd like to be done with my student loans before my daughter needs to worry about applying for her own. I never considered asking for financial contributions for my student loans in lieu of gifts, so I'm excited to give it a try! Not only is it a gift that helps me, it helps my entire family."
Pillar is backed by reputable investors including seed funding lead Kleiner Perkins, Rainfall Ventures, Great Oaks VC, Financial Venture Studio, Kairos, and Day One Ventures. Individual investors include Adam Nash; the former CEO of Wealthfront and Acorns board member, Noah Weiss; former SVP of Product at Foursquare, Zach Weinberg and Nat Turner; co-founders of Flatiron Health, Misha Esipov; CEO and co-founder of Nova Credit, and Robinhood's Head of Finance and International Expansion.
Pillar is the easiest and most effective way for people to manage, pay off, and save money on their student loans. Pillar aggregates all your student loans in one place and then analyzes your loans, income, and spending to determine the fastest way to pay down your debt. Pillar is completely free to download and use. The company was founded in 2018 by Michael Bloch after he experienced first-hand how broken the student loan industry is. Michael's wife graduated from law school with over $300k in debt, and Michael dropped out of Stanford Business School to solve the student loan debt problem and avoid taking on another $250k of student loans. Pillar is based in New York City. To sign up for Pillar and start your Boost holiday campaign, please visit https://www.pillar.app.