True Link

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
True Link Financial, Inc.
IndustryFinancial services
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California

True Link Financial, Inc. is a San Francisco, California based financial services firm that offers investment accounts and debit cards customized for seniors. Notable investors include Y Combinator, Cambia, Mitch Kapor, Alexis Ohanian, Eric Ries, and Matt Cutts.[1][2][3]

Investment methodology for retirees[edit]

The company uses bond ladders which reduce interest rate risk,[4] and a time-based investment strategy described by experts as a "strategy for a lifetime of income."[5] The investment allocations are based on Modern portfolio theory and include stocks and bonds as well as an annuity component in some cases.[6]

Protection from fraud and elder abuse[edit]

True Link offers a Visa card with special controls that prevent common types of fraud and financial abuse targeting the elderly. In addition to fraud-detection algorithms developed by the company, the card can be customized to restrict telemarketer purchases across the board, block certain charitable organizations and allow others, set limits on ATM usage and receive text messages, or selectively block only a few problematic merchants.[7][8][9][10][11][12] It takes about five minutes to sign up, and its customers save an average of $2,340 per year by using the True Link card.[1][13][14] True Link is the only card with these protective features.[15][16]

The company was inspired by CEO Kai Stinchcombe's experience with his grandmother Ruth, who gave tens of thousands of dollars to pushy telemarketers and charitable solicitors.[17][18][19] According to survey research, fourteen percent of seniors are victimized by fraud every year, and an additional fifty-four percent are targeted.[20] The company was formed in November 2012 by cofounders Kai Stinchcombe and Claire McDonnell and launched its product in August 2013.[21] Financial institutions have expressed interest in partnering with the company to help protect their customers from fraud.[22][23]

According to True Link's research, fraud targeting seniors is a $36.5 billion per year problem.[24][25][26][27] True Link uses fraud detection algorithms and maintains a large database filled with scams and suspicious merchants,[9][10][28][29][30][31] and members of True Link's data science team are frequently cited as experts on scams and fraud targeting the elderly.[32][33][34][35][36]

Other customers[edit]

The company also provides services to people with disabilities, to people recovering from addiction, to special needs trusts, pooled trusts and representative payees.[37][38] In August 2016 True Link acquired Next Step Network, LLC., a company that offers payment cards to people recovering from addiction.[37][39][40] Around 2.5 million receive care at an addiction treatment facility every year.[41]


  1. ^ a b Kim-Mai, Cutler (January 21, 2015). "YC-Backed True Link Raises $3.4M in Funding To Expand Debit Card, Financial Services To The Elderly". TechCrunch.
  2. ^ "True Link". AngelList.
  3. ^ Reader, Ruth (January 21, 2015). "This startup raised $3.5M to help your grandparents fight credit card fraud". VentureBeat.
  4. ^ [citation needed]
  5. ^ Laise, Eleanor (August 17, 2011). "A Strategy for a Lifetime of Income: Split your nest egg into separate buckets to generate income throughout your retirement". Kiplinger.
  6. ^ "Investment Methodology". True Link. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  7. ^ Searles, Kathryn (October 20, 2014). "Protect Senior Citizens from Scammers with True Link Credit Card". WCCB TV.
  8. ^ "The True Link Prepaid Visa Card". Family Caregiver Alliance National Center on Caregiving.
  9. ^ a b Raymond, Joan (December 29, 2014). "Long-distance caregiving: Tech fills gaps for far-flung families". TODAY.
  10. ^ a b Arnold, Curtis (May 22, 2014). "Protect The Elderly From Scams With A Prepaid Debit Card". Forbes.
  11. ^ Tergesen, Anne (January 20, 2015). "The Best Online Tools for Retirement Planning and Living". Wall Street Journal. pp. Encore Section, page 1.
  12. ^ Brooke, Eliza (August 1, 2013). "YC Startup True Link Financial Is Out To Help The Elderly Avoid Scammers With Pre-Paid Visa Cards". TechCrunch.
  13. ^ Farr, Christina (August 1, 2013). "Senior security: New credit card protects your grandma from online fraud". VentureBeat.
  14. ^ Steinmetz, Katy (November 17, 2014). "Senior Startups: Innovators are targeting a new demographic". TIME Magazine. p. 18.
  15. ^ Buck, Claudia (September 20, 2014). "Personal Finance: Prepaid debit cards may prevent seniors from being scammed".
  16. ^ Span, Paula (February 21, 2014). "Better Than a Credit Card". New York Times.
  17. ^ Hosler, Hollie (October 22, 2014). "A true link to financial freedom". PBG Lifestyle Magazine.
  18. ^ Angela, Swartz (August 2, 2013). "True Link Financial Aims to Fight Senior Credit Scams". All Things D.
  19. ^ Diamond, Diane (February 7, 2015). "Stop 'elder financial abuse epidemic' now". Albuquerque Journal.
  20. ^ Holtfreter, Kristy, Michael D. Reisig, Daniel P. Mears, and Scott E. Wolfe (March 2014). "Financial Exploitation of the Elderly in a Consumer Context" (PDF). National Criminal Justice Reference Service.
  21. ^ Bowles, Nellie (December 16, 2013). "Young tech entrepreneurs develop products for seniors". San Francisco Chronicle.
  22. ^ "Alpha Lab Informational Webinar: True Link Card Prototype Testing". Filene Institute. June 11, 2014.
  23. ^ McGarvey, Robert (May 1, 2014). "More Protection Against Elder Fraud". Credit Union Times.
  24. ^ Brenoff, Ann (February 5, 2015). "Study Finds Elderly Scams Cost 12 TIMES More Than Previously Thought". Huffington Post.
  25. ^ Sullivan, Bob (February 5, 2015). "6 Horror Stories of Elder Financial Abuse".
  26. ^ Rosenblatt, Carolyn (February 1, 2015). "Have We Grossly Underestimated The Extent Of Financial Elder Abuse?". Forbes.
  27. ^ Yip, Pamela (February 1, 2015). "Combatting the high cost of elder financial abuse". Dallas Morning News.
  28. ^ "New True Link Card Can Help Protect Seniors from Fraud". SeniorTechDaily. August 16, 2013.
  29. ^ "True Link Financial closes $3.4m seed funding". FinSMEs. January 21, 2015.
  30. ^ Reutzel, Bailey (August 1, 2013). "True Link Prepaid Card for Seniors Takes Ideas from Youth Payments". PaymentsSource.
  31. ^ Hoekstra, Lisa (September 13, 2013). "Protect Seniors Against Credit Card Fraud". The Caregiver's Secret.
  32. ^ Guthrie, Dana (December 3, 2014). "Red flags could mean your elderly relative is being bilked". Houston Chronicle.
  33. ^ Jaffe, Ina (December 22, 2014). "Services Offer A Means To Foil Widespread 'Elder Fraud'". NPR All Things Considered.
  34. ^ Williams, Geoff (September 26, 2014). "Five Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Caregiver for Your Parent". U.S. News.
  35. ^ Justice, L.A. (December 8, 2014). "Five Scams That Target Seniors – and How to Avoid Them". National Examiner. pp. 2–3.
  36. ^ Clark-Wendel, Princess (September 10, 2014). "How To Protect Your Parents and Grandparents From Financial Crimes Against the Elderly". Forbes.
  37. ^ a b "True Link to Acquire Next Step: Diversified financial services firm absorbs payment provider for addiction recovery market". PR Newswire. August 5, 2016.
  38. ^ "Pooled Trusts". True Link. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  39. ^ Lima, Debora (August 9, 2016). "Payment services company for substance abuse patients acquired". South Florida Business Journal.
  40. ^ "The Next Step Card from True Link". True Link. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  41. ^ "Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health" (PDF). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved August 10, 2016.

External links[edit]