Qoins co-founder and CEO Christian Zimmerman joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to discuss how his company is tackling the US debt crisis.
– Welcome to Yahoo Finance. Now that we’re launching our Hispanic Heritage Month coverage here, we want to bring in Christian Zimmerman. He is the co-founder and CEO of Coins. And it’s a Fintech company that helps people take control of their finances.
And Christian, it’s great to have you here. Thank you very much for joining us. I know one of your priorities is to read the notes. One of your priorities is to help people get out of debt five times faster than it usually takes. So the big question here is, how do you do this?
CHRISTIAN ZIMMERMAN: Yes. Thank you for hosting me. And yes, our mission in Coins has always been about how we help people achieve their financial goals and that starting with getting out of debt.
And so we started the coins in 2017 after I personally graduated from college, I had student loans, personal loans. And what we really found is that it’s very simplistic. The more money you invest in these debts and apply them specifically to principal, the faster you will pay them off and the less interest you will pay.
And overall, it will take time to reduce this debt. So that’s really what we’re focusing on so far.
– When you … I’m guessing the impact of COVID right now. Are we seeing more people struggling with debt? Or are we actually seeing more people saving as a result?
CHRISTIAN ZIMMERMAN: So if you asked me that last year, right? Just as the pandemic hit, the government stepped in and helped a lot of consumers and customers really have some extra cash. You know, we’ve seen an influx of credit card debt go down.
But as we’ve now kind of opened up the market, opened up the economy, we’re starting to see spending patterns revert to their normal patterns. And we’re starting to see an increase in overall credit card debt, which is also starting to increase.
– Christian, you’ve paid off over $ 20 million in consumer debt so far. What do you hope that number will look like in two or three years?
CHRISTIAN ZIMMERMAN: Yeah, I mean, you know, that’s such a hard-hitting number. And one of the things we want to keep doing is increase that number. Our goal is to reach $ 100 million in total debt repaid nationally.
And so that’s something that we aspire to do. We are getting there slowly but surely. And you know, that’s what really motivates us.
– And one of the ways you’re going to get there. I know you are running a debit card that will help people pay every time a customer uses it. Explain exactly how it works, because it’s not too often that you hear about a real innovation in the debit card business.
CHRISTIAN ZIMMERMAN: Yeah, I mean, credit cards and debit cards have been around for so long. But one of the things that we saw is that the debit card rewards and the ability to get cash back have been very, very good, you know, the same – the same kind of rewards as you get in return.
So what we did was kind of flip it over and say, hey, why can’t we bring back those kind of rewards that credit cards get without putting consumers in debt and working with retailers and merchants. at national scale ? Say you have to do the grocery shopping. You have to go get gas. You have to go for coffee here and every now and then if you’re not a morning person like me.
And use those elements to apply the additional savings and savings from merchants more to a corporate social responsibility aspect to pay off those debts even faster.
– Christian, when you talk about starting this business at the start of 18x and the startup that Black founded, how do we get more minority businesses the support they need? Because I know it’s a priority for you at least just in terms of being a leader in this space. But how do you get more businesses like yours involved and see the same kind of success you see?
CHRISTIAN ZIMMERMAN: I think the most important thing that we’ve seen in the last four or four or five years has been the ability to get the right amount of education and resources for Latino and Black founders. I think it’s definitely available these days. And we have seen it. You know, we’re based here in Atlanta and the resources are, you know, foreign and fruitful for us.
But you know, the other thinking that needs to catch up with that is also the capital investment which also helps fund some of these businesses to grow and grow efficiently and quickly.
– Well one of the ways that you have been able to do it so successfully. I know you started this by getting rid of your own student debt. If you could just say a couple of tips or advice here for some people who might find themselves in a similar situation as you were years ago. What would you have to say to them?
CHRISTIAN ZIMMERMAN: I think the main thing I would say is, you know, everybody’s got, you know, debt. So if you’ve got it, don’t – don’t – don’t fear it. Use it as a way to educate yourself better and put yourself in a better financial position by taking small steps. And that’s really what our whole thesis behind the coins is to use small changes to have big impacts.
– Well, Christian, it’s great to have you here on Yahoo Finance. We wish you the best. Christian Zimmerman, co-founder and CEO of Coins.