Did you know that women were only granted the right to open credit cards in their own names in 1974? Thankfully, since then women have come far in gaining financial independence. But one woman is taking the notion a step further by creating the world’s first credit card created for women and supporting women.
Kim Azzarelli is the co-founder of Seneca Women, which has recently issued The Card, the first credit card to reward customers when they shop at women-owned businesses. Created in partnership with Mastercard and Deserve, the credit card can be added to your Apple Pay and provides 3% cashback when shopping at women-owned businesses in The Marketplace by Seneca Women.
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“When you invest in women, you look at women as partners in growth, versus just a philanthropic gesture,” says Azzarelli. “Women reinvest in their communities, both economically and socially. So we call it the double dividend; if you invest a dollar in women, you invest in your economy and society. Our whole thesis is about the women’s economy and how it has an exponential impact. And technology is a great accelerator.”
Unfortunately, even getting to this point is only recently possible.
“Throughout history, there are a lot of systemic issues,” says Azzarelli. “Women traditionally have problems getting loans and have a different credit history because sometimes women take time off to have children. And it’s not that long ago that women needed a husband’s signature to get a mortgage. There are some very serious systemic issues that we’re facing. But we’re trying to make a difference.”
If there is someone to make this idea come to fruition, it's Azzarelli. For the last two decades, she served as a Vice president at Avon, Goldman Sachs and Newsweek and co-founded the Cornell Law School's Center for Women and Justice. With all that experience in business and finance, Azzarelli applied to Apple's first Entrepreneur Camp for Female Founders to bring her idea for the Seneca women app and card to life.
“Typically, you’ll get rewarded for big categories like travel and food,” says Azzarelli. "But there’s no real way to support individual companies or get gender-segregated data. So it took time to convince people that this was a good idea. Now, we’ve actualized it and our goal is to get as many of the 14 million women-owned businesses as possible on our platform.”
If you’re interested in having your business featured, go to The Marketplace. There’s a place where you can apply or nominate a woman-owned business. To apply for the card, head to card.senecawomen.com.