Seeking to offer consumers more ways to settle their unpaid debts, a husband and wife team from Wisconsin have launched a new platform that was recently profiled in a media publication.
Called Debtle, the platform offers creditors the opportunity to accept “alternative payments” beyond traditional checks and credit and debit cards. Options like opt-in payment plans, crowdfunding, half-used gift cards, volunteer hours, and non-fungible tokens are listed as some of the ways that consumers can pay their unpaid debts to creditors who are active on the platform.
The team behind Debtle are Stephanie and Houston Hawkins. Stephanie Hoskins was working in the finance department of a large nonprofit healthcare network in Louisiana when she came up with the idea for the platform. The pair then expanded it beyond just allowing consumers to pay for their healthcare debts. Consumers can use it to pay for other debts, like unpaid rent. They moved to Wisconsin to live with her parents during the pandemic, but have decided to stay there to grow their business.
The pair have raised $230,000 so far to help them get Debtle off the ground. Debtle keeps a portion of each transaction it facilitates as its payment. Debtle says it is cheaper and more consumer friendly than other options, like third-party debt collectors.
“Every day, people are denied jobs, homes, cars, small business loans, degrees and other opportunities because of one bill they couldn’t pay years ago,” Stephanie Hawkins said in the report. “This impacts vulnerable communities significantly more and can hamper an entire community’s economic development.”