fintech stories

Purple: the Fintech for people with disabilities

purple bank

Purple is a niche FinTech app aimed at individuals with disabilities. It’s one of the many apps right now that are trying to break new ground and create a better world for a certain set of people. In this article, we’re going to talk about Purple, give you an idea of how it works, and overall give you an insider’s look at their organization and the way they are changing banking for folks with disabilities. 

What is Purple Bank?

Purple is a focused mobile banking application specially designed and field-tested for people with disabilities. One of the biggest challenges individuals with disabilities or their caregivers face is how to stay within the boundaries of the governmental preset for their monthly Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Purple’s main goal is to help this group of individuals out — gifting them with an easy-to-use tool that can eventually empower them to achieve financial independence.

For example, to remain eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits a person with disabilities has to toe a rather strict line. That individual can’t have assets that exceed $2000 or $3000 if they are in a relationship as a couple. These not only include what they earn but what they have in the bank. The more income an individual gets, which includes wages, gifts, even donations, the lower the SSI benefits will be. 

Right now, over 26% of Americans that’s over 61 million, one out of four, live with some sort of disability. They face several health care barriers and incredibly harsh financial disparities. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 19.3% of people with disabilities find jobs — that’s in stark contrast to the 66.3% in the other pool, without any sort of disability, that have gainful employment.

Purple is here to help these 61 million Americans surf the waters of today’s health and economic system.

purple bank card

How much does Purple Bank cost?

Purple has no sign-up fees. Nevertheless, it is important to note that certain transactions do have fees — for example certain withdrawals. 

Purple makes money due to its relationship with Mastercard. Purple has a strong relationship with The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC, licensed by Mastercard International. Each time a user of Purple swipes or uses the Purple debit card, Mastercard processes the purchase and gives a small fee back to the corporation. That is how Purple keeps the lights on. 

How does Purple Work?

Purple gives its customers a, with the help of the Bancorp Bank, checking account that FDIC insured for up to $250,000. Users will get a debit card they can use and each time they purchase with the card a portion of that revenue is donated to the Special Olympics.

Purple’s biggest Advantage

Purple’s biggest advantage is what John Ciocca, its founder, is in the process of integrating into the platform. Right now, as of October 2021, Purple is in trial mode. What is John trying to integrate into the system? 

A tax-advantaged savings account called ABLE. These are special accounts where people with disabilities can store up to $100,000 without compromising the SSI benefits. Any withdrawal from this account, for certain qualified expenses, like health care, housing, assistive tech’, don’t count as taxable income. 

If John manages to include this feature, Purple is bound to be the biggest FinTech option for disabled people. Not only that, but with an ABLE account that is operational, clients of Purple will be able to let the company invest any money - through the use of a cutting-edge algorithm - that exceeds the $2,000 limits imposed by SSI. 

If John manages this feat, Purple is likely to become the default choice for anyone with a disability that wants financial freedom. 

purple bank disabilities

A history of Purple

Purple was founded by John Ciocca in Bonita Springs, Florida. John was a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University that was well-versed in the problems people with disabilities constantly faced. His brother Christina Ciocca was born with Down Syndrome. John’s family has always found themselves at an impasse — balancing the advantages and pride, not to mention Christian’s own ambitions, for holding a job against the benefits and higher payment the government was offering if he remained unemployed. 

John along with the team behind youBELONG (the first social network exclusively for people with differing disabilities) created Purple, a spending account, debit card, and financial platform for people with disabilities. Giving this group affordable, inclusive financial service that - up until the present - had been overlooked by traditional institutions.

Who is Purple Bank aimed at?

Purple is aimed primarily at people with disabilities - nonetheless, anyone that meets certain criteria can use Purple. 

  • Purple is available for citizens and/or permanent residents of the United States.
  • People who apply to purple must be at least 18 years old.
  • A valid Social Security number is needed for Purple. 
  • A valid address within the US is required.
  • Your FICO credit score will not be affected because Purple is not a credit card but a debit card.