How can we democratize & simplify credit building process for internationals?


When International students first arrive in the United States, one of the main concerns they voice is the arduous credit obtaining process. As part of IPD 509, our team worked with Ripple to ideate solutions to facilitate the credit building process for Internationals.

Scope of Work

User Research



Capstone Project
3 months

Getting to know our users

Learning about the U.S. credit building experience

Our team interviewed individuals from diverse backgrounds to learn about their specific needs & wants in the U.S. credit card obtaining process.

Opportunity Matrix

High effort/thought x Unsatisfied

Our opportunity matrix serves to pinpoint which segment of users we should focus and prioritize on. We decided to target users in the high effort/thought & extremely unsatisfied status quo segment.

Interview Synthesis

Identifying main challenges

These are the three main insights that we identified from the interviews. We learned that the limited options and the challenging process hinder Internationals credit journey.

Limited Credit Building Options

Difficult to find a company to open a credit card as a new international student, especially if you do not have a social security number or credit history.

Challenging Credit Building Process

International students have a harder time obtaining a credit card since they must provide evidence of income & bank statement that display their funds.

Players with Similar Objectives

LEAP is an overseas platform that provides services specifically in regards to credit cards and visa guidance to international students.


Ideating possible solutions

Reflecting on my experiences and insights from interviews, I sketched out some ideas that could alleviate some painpoints identified by international students.

User Journey

Joe's journey with Altered

Follow along Joe's journey to understand how Altered will be utilized to facilitate international students' financial journey.

A new, centralized financial platform

Introducing a new credit-building experience

Altered Onboarding

New users are presented with the option to upload necessary documentation, such as identification and financial records, to immediately receive an automated altered score.

Getting your Altered score

After uploading the required documentation, users instantly receive their Altered score. This score is a measure of creditworthiness, uniquely calculated based on the provided documents. If the initial score doesn’t meet expectations, users have the opportunity to submit additional documentation for reevaluation.

Applying for an Altered Card

Once users obtain their Altered Score, they can proceed to apply for an Altered Card. Applicants can expect to receive the results of their application within 2-3 business days. This quick turnaround time is ideal for those who need to establish credit or require a credit card for immediate use.

Getting your Altered Card

Upon successful evaluation, users are issued their Altered card. One of the standout features of the Altered card is its compatibility with Apple Wallet, offering a seamless and modern way to manage credit.

Managing your cards

Users can access various settings on their profile page to manage their accounts and cards efficiently. One of the features include the ability to lock the card in case it is lost or damaged, providing an added layer of security and peace of mind for users.

Creating a new savings account

In addition to the credit card services, Altered offers the ability to open checking, savings, or an XRP (cryptocurrency) account. This feature caters to the diverse financial needs of users, allowing them to manage multiple types of accounts within a single platform.

Transfer dashboard

The transfer dashboard is a central feature where users can view their past transactions. It displays a list of recent transactions at the top, making it easy to track spending and transfers.

Transferring externally to a non-Altered user

With the external transfer feature, users can send money directly from their Altered account to individuals outside the Altered network. This functionality is particularly convenient for international students who may need to send money abroad or to non-Altered users.

Transferring internally

The internal transfer feature allows for easy money transfers between the user’s own accounts or to other users within the Altered network. This feature facilitates quick and hassle-free transactions, enhancing the overall user experience and financial flexibility.