Oxygen Builds Out Debit Card Option for Gig Workers


Photo by Spencer Watson on Unsplash

As the gig economy grows, so do opportunities for banks and fintechs.

That’s what’s on the mind of Oxygen, a challenger bank built for freelancers. The San Francisco-based startup, which recently launched its mobile app, is now collaborating with CPI Card Group to create a debit card option for its users.

Oxygen tapped CPI Card Group for its “advanced print design services” in hopes to better connect with its unique target market made up of freelancers, digital natives, and small businesses. At launch, two vertical card designs will be available. Both feature a “clean and crisply-designed” look with back-of-card personalization.

“At Oxygen, we understand that the physical brand experience – including everything from the card design to the packaging appearance – matters for our creative, tech-savvy clientele. With CPI’s cost-effective scale and design strengths, we were able to deliver a sleek card to customers in a unique, memorable fashion,” said Oxygen Founder and CEO Hussein Ahmed. “We are pleased to have such a reliable secure card provider and are thrilled to offer customers an eye-catching debit card that echoes their drive, ambition and lifestyle.”

Oxygen was founded in 2018 and caters to the growing set of customers that rely on gig work and multiple income streams to pay their bills. The challenger bank offers both personal and business accounts with features including cash-back rewards and virtual cards for personal accounts, as well as accounting tools and the ability to mail checks from within the app for business accounts. Both accounts boast no monthly fees.

Along with its digital capabilities and creative branding, Oxygen differentiates itself with a lending product that works for the self-employed workforce with fluctuating income. Instead of relying on job stability and credit scores to underwrite loans, Oxygen instead looks at a borrower’s historical cashflow to assess risk and repayment capability.

Oxygen and other challenger banks such as Wollit and Xolo are among the growing number of players eager to serve the gig economy. These customers have traditionally been ignored by larger traditional financial institutions, which haven’t seen the value in serving clients with unpredictable income. This may change in a post-coronavirus economy, however, as more of the population earns their paycheck with freelance work rather than a full-time job.