Black Tech Disruptor: Evan Leaphart, founder of Kiddie Kredit and Black Men Talk Tech
Evan combines a passion for financial literacy and innovation with a commitment to solving real-world problems that help the community around him. He’s serious about teaching black & brown children and their families to have honest conversations about credit using Kiddie Kredit.
As of September 2020, the typical White family has eight times the wealth of the typical Black family and five times the wealth of the typical Hispanic family, according to the Federal Reserve. Historically speaking, this racial wealth gap has everything to do with systemic inequities in access to property, capital, etc. But what people often fail to realize is the most immediate factor impacting this gap: credit.
Over 50% of millennials say they have below average credit, and two out of every three Americans can’t pass a basic financial literacy test. If children learned about credit the way they learn their multiplication tables, we could potentially change the financial future of our youth. And that is exactly what serial entrepreneur Evan Leaphart aims to do with his app, Kiddie Kredit.
Kiddie Kredit is a mobile chore tracking app that gives parents the ability to educate their kids on the importance of credit while simultaneously teaching them about responsibility through chore and activity completion. The premise is simple: the better a child performs their duties/activities, the better their score. Kiddie Kredit does this by creating a “kredit” score that parallels traditional FICO scoring models. As the creator, Leaphart is serious about teaching children and their families to have honest conversations about credit.
“The motivation [behind Kiddie Kredit] was simple. Let’s reduce the number of youths who fall into traps of bad debt early. Let’s build a solution that is preventative and not corrective,” Leaphart said of the app, which launched in 2018 and has already amassed over 5,000 active users. Leaphart’s passion for helping the communities around him by solving real-world problems came from his own experiences.
“I saw firsthand how poor credit can make things difficult; it affected my ability to get a mortgage, it affected my ability to get an auto loan at a respectable rate, and as an entrepreneur it made it difficult to get a business loan,” Leaphart says. “I really believe in the future and in our youth. I don’t want young people to have to go through what I went through; I want them to start strong and hit the ground running.”
Leaphart’s goal with Kiddie Kredit is to empower families, particularly marginalized ones, through credit education and teach them that healthy credit is more than a number attached to your bank account. Health credit fuels power, freedom, and access. “Credit plays a large part in our lives and poor credit is one of the reasons the racial wealth gap continues to widen,” Leaphart explains. “Specifically for black and brown communities, it’s the one thing we can do to narrow the wealth gap. Credit, if it’s used properly, can be a tool to generate wealth. For example, the average monthly income gap between an 18-year-old to 30-year-old in a wealthy versus poor zip code isn’t that wide. But that difference widens over time due to poor credit scores and the rising interest rates that result from those poor credit scores. If we address credit early on, we can really begin to narrow the racial wealth gap.”
Guest Article By: Ina Joseph
Photo Credit: Provided by Anika PR