A Chat with Tim Chong, Co-Founder and CEO at Finance and Lifestyle Platform: Yonder

Yonder is a financial and lifestyle platform purposefully designed for young adventurers globally. Launched earlier this year in London, the Yonder credit card has been created with a high-quality curated rewards program, designed around their lifestyles at home and abroad. It’s the credit card antithesis to the stuffy, corporate, rigid credit cards designed for business trips and client meetings. We like to joke around that Yonder “isn’t your dad’s credit card” – it’s been designed from the ground up to offer millennials and Gen Z consumers a beautifully designed and consumer-first credit experience.
Yonder’s mission is to rebuild people’s relationship with credit. We believe that credit is a vital tool for developing your financial life, but many younger generations have been scared off of credit cards from years of being mistreated and taken advantage of from credit card providers who don’t have their best interests at heart. We want to build a credit experience that empowers young people to live their best lives and build responsible spending habits that help them build their credit rating over time so they can take advantage of other credit products like mortgages when they get older.
The Yonder credit card has a few key benefits to our members. The most notable, and our most loved benefit, is our unique rewards program. We curate some of London’s best restaurants and bars, and let our users seamlessly redeem meals and drinks using their Yonder points. Some of our partners include Kricket, Lina Stores and BAO. Each month we roll out new partners, so it keeps the offering fresh and interesting for our members. We get around 85% open rates for our emails when we announce our new partners! We also cater to our members’ travel lifestyles by offering no FX fees when they spend around the world, plus worldwide family travel insurance with £0 excess, medical cover, trip cancellation, winter sports and more.
The origins of Yonder were to harness the power of Open Banking to evaluate credit suitability based on a potential customer’s spending habits, rather than just relying on traditional credit checks alone. It makes Yonder an exciting option for people who are new to the UK who have no credit rating yet but have a salary and can show they’re responsible with their money. We’re fully regulated, and secured FCA authorisation in just over nine months.


Yonder Credit Card | Your Card-Shaped Key To The City


How did you come up with the idea for the company?


It all started back in 2016. I was walking along a dusty road in rural Kenya and I saw what you might expect in rural Kenya. The sound of sheep bleating, merchandise laid out on creaking and worn-out tables in a village market. But what surprised me was instead of paying with cash, buyers and sellers pulled out their phones and paid for goods digitally. It was mobile banking, but in the middle of rural Kenya, not in the middle of Silicon Valley, it was M-Pesa.
M-Pesa pioneered mobile money in Kenya, before fintech was even a thing. In 2006, only 26.7% of the population had access to financial services.
By 2016, it was 75.3%. Through the basic mobile phone, millions of Kenyans in urban cities and rural villagers had access to frictionlessly remit money to friends and family, pay for goods, borrow and securely store their money. Now more than half of Kenya’s GDP runs through M-Pesa. It’s a story of economic empowerment that changed the trajectory of a nation. It’s a story that led me to ClearScore where my co-founders and I had front-row seats in the consumer credit industry. An industry in need of a serious shakeup.Our vision for the world is a future where our financial system is equitable and the stress of debt is eliminated for everyone.
If you’ve ever tried to open a bank account or get a credit card when living outside your home country, you’ll know it’s a mammoth task. Individual history – like credit scores and previous payslips – often don’t hold the same value for people who are new to the UK. If you do manage to get a credit card, the reward programs are often un-rewarding. Credit cards are designed to benefit the bank, not the individual.
Yonder exists to change the credit industry for the better by offering a customer-centric product. When credit cards launched in the 1960s they were a truly revolutionary alternative to cash and instalment loans, with wide merchant acceptance and innovative features like interest-free periods. But sixty years later, there has been little change, with reward schemes that still reflect the credit card loyalty program, which started in the late 1980s.
Credit cards have become a game of deception between consumers and banks. With 0% balance transfer offers, attractive minimum monthly repayments, hidden fees, it’s become who can outsmart who: consumers or banks. It’s no surprise that more time in banks is spent on optimising their credit card portfolio profitability than creating financial products that genuinely work for consumers.
We think there’s a better way. At Yonder, we’re starting our journey by rebuilding the modern credit card from the ground up. We’re building a card that’s truly a key to the city – with an experience that’s beautiful and uncompromisingly fair. A credit card that looks at people’s complete financial picture, and one that rewards consumers with the best of their city. We’ve built Yonder to be the perfect companion to all of life’s adventures, whether it’s in a bustling city or exploring the best dining experiences abroad.



What do you think makes this company unique?


Our team is incredibly high-performing. We are a team of just fifteen, that in less than 18 months built an entire credit card from scratch. We built our core banking, iOS and Android apps, rewards program and all the supporting functions inhouse to deliver that value to our customers. We offer 24/7 customer support and our entire team has shifts throughout the week and are trained up in how to support our members. We’re delivering what a team of 50 or 100 would at a typical company. We have a five-star Trustpilot rating with a 98% five stars and the other 2% four stars.


How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?


When we started Yonder, we were just a small team of 7 in a tiny co-working space in Kings Cross. We were focused on getting our product into the hands of early adopters as quickly as possible, giving us a chance to learn and iterate the product. 
Since then, we’ve built a truly remarkable team of 15 and refined our product to deliver a gorgeous experience for all of our members across London. We’ve seen customers fall in love with the product experience, while discovering the best places to explore across their city with their friends. And we’ve continued to deliver on our mission with all our members responsibly using the credit facility which allows borrowing on transparent terms.
We’re deeply convinced that we have an opportunity to set the standard in the industry for what a transparent and ethical credit card without compromises looks like – built on fair value exchange with consumers.


What can we hope to see from Yonder in the future


Yonder has always been about helping people move forward. We’ve always believed that the credit card of the future won’t be a card at all, it’ll be a financial membership. A financial membership that lets you experience the most from life’s precious moments. We’re the financial companion to your everyday life, helping you experience the best – in a way that makes money rewarding, and credit-empowering. This means nailing these for our customers:
  • Unparalleled access: We believe in a future where there’s borderless access to credit, no matter where you are in the world – Yonder is always there for you, even if you’ve just landed in a new country. We don’t talk about sub-prime or prime, we synthesise the right financial membership that’s right for you, whatever your financial circumstances. Giving you access to a fair and responsible financial product, whatever your life stage.
  • Frictionless payments: We’re not bound by a card, Yonder enables you to frictionlessly pay for anything, whether it’s shopping online, buying groceries, buying a car or home, or just sending money to a friend. We’re the Amazon 1-click for everyday living and even your Web 3 life.
  • Seamless cashflow management: Flow over credit and debit – we dynamically smooth out your cash flow, dynamically switching you between spending from a credit line or from your savings. We automatically optimise for your job-to-be-done, whether it’s borrowing for that big purchase, building a credit history, or just spending at your local cafe.
  • Curated discovery: Discover the best of everyday living – we curate the best of wherever you are, whether you’re in London, New York, Tel Aviv or the Lake District. We draw from your spending habits to unlock beautifully personalised experiences.
  • Memorable experiences: We’re the perfect companion to every memorable experience. Whether it’s an exclusive dining experience with your favourite chef, immersive music gigs or a night out with friends. We take the stress out of everyday, with chauffeur services to get you where you want and Yonder spaces across airports and major cities.
Today is just the beginning for Yonder, and we’re tremendously excited about the potential to create a truly revolutionary lifestyle card experience for millions of consumers across the world.