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What Is Nerdwallet? How Did It Start And What’s Interesting About It?

What Is Nerdwallet? How Did It Start And What’s Interesting About It? 13.08.2019Leave a comment
What Is Nerdwallet? How Did It Start And What’s Interesting About It?

Each of us faces financial choices every day. Almost all of those require deep and thoughtful research. For a long time, we’ve been forced to navigate pretty important decisions without a whole lot of clarity and transparency. If you are looking for, financial advice, expert information, and helpful tools to improve your personal finance decisions, Nerdwallet is the platform you can start at.

This is a website helping its users to find, review, and compare financial products such as personal taxes, credit cards, and anything which is finance related. That’s why more than 300 financial at Nerdwallet came together to understand its users’ lifestyle, and help them come up with simple ways to save more, spend effectively and even improve their current credit score.

At first, they looked at the credit card field and realized there is no single platform that helps potential users to make wiser financial decisions, and that’s how it all started.

In 5 years, Nerdwallet improved the content of the website by introducing more categories, consequently raising the number of its users to 17 million. Since then Nerdwallet has grown from 1-featured credit card site to a comparison engine for everything finance-related, starting from travel fees to cost of living to a college education.

Traffic Overview
Traffic Overview

Currently, the website helps its users not only to compare and choose between credit cards but even loans, insurances, and money market instruments. Both co-founders of the website say that most of their staff members left their jobs at Wall Street even high-profile ones, to pursue more with Nerdwallet and help people make decisions based on true and fair information in hand.

Features and sections

Nerdwallet is very user-friendly and makes even the most complicated money matters simple to understand.

If you need to find the best credit card based on certain priorities e.g. Cash-Backs, lowest interests or rewards, the website brings comprehensive information to your attention after  asking you to provide your credit score and some information on your preferences.

Compare Credit Cards
Compare Credit Cards

Even if you don’t know  your credit score, Nerdwallet will calculate it for you. The website has very interesting tools and attracts its users by informing them about current trends in the financial market and how to learn more about it.

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Tied to its mission to provide clarity for all of life’s financial decisions, NerdWallet’s tools and advice make it easy to solve financial problems expertly. With the help of this website, you can get and pay off debt, choose the best options for your new credit cards or insurance and achieve your financial goals, such as buying a house or saving for retirement.

Content is being renewed on a daily basis to make sure  Nerdwallet users are always up to date whenever something new comes up.

The website is categorized into 8 major parts:

– Credit cards

If you’re trying to understand which credit card would be the best for you, Nerdwallet’s Credit Cards section gives you an opportunity to compare cards and select the most suitable one for you.

Compare Credit Cards
Compare Credit Cards

Whether you are interested in paying less, gaining more, or both together, experts are there to help you. They will ask you several questions and find suitable options for you. The website has a very interesting and effective tool for “Side by Side comparisons” of credit cards. This helps users gain a thorough understanding of how 2 cards differ from each other and which one is more suitable.

Nerdwallet provides experts’ opinion on what the cards are great for; its annual fees, the minimum credit score customer should have to be qualified, and other informative sections that are important for decision making.

– Banking

One of the most informative sections of Nerdwallet is Banking, where users get to know everything about money markets, from what the money market is to the best money market accounts.

Summary of the best checking and savings accounts are presented with experts’ reviews on why they like it and what advantages it can bring to customers.

Saving Accounts
Saving Accounts

If the user is interested in higher returns on their deposits, the website has also Certificate of Deposits (CDs) section for a better and more comprehensive overview of how much is the minimum amount, APY (annual percentage yield), deposit term so that the users can easily find the one that fits their needs the most.

– Investment

We always face a dilemma on how to use our savings and where to invest. For every investment, the most important part is where we invest.

  • Is it a trustworthy asset?
  • Will the initial investment pay off?

Website guides on how to or where to invest, and even calculates the user’s capital gains.

Stock Brokers
Stock Brokers

If the user is going to buy stock for the first time, the website proves step by step information on how to buy those. In order to ease its users’ investment activities, Nerdwallet provides detailed descriptions from opening a brokerage account to selecting the stocks, the number of shares, and selecting order type.

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– Mortgages and Loans

Before taking loans and mortgages we always do major research, specifically on which bank or credit organization will provide the lowest interest rates.

Compare Personal Loans
Compare Personal Loans

Well, if you were doing this research and exploring each offer separately, Nerdwallet has put together comprehensive data for you to help you make your decisions faster and more effectively!

Whether you are a student taking a loan or a person buying a house, all of the information is available on the website with an objective and detailed description.

For example, personal loans require you to answer only 3 simple questions:

  • what is the purpose of the loan (i.e. traveling, refinancing, business, emergency expenses, etc.),
  • the total amount of loan you want to take
  • and your annual income.

Website will calculate and show the most optimal options, which can also be filtered by APR(annual percentage rate), monthly repayments, and the ones user can take with a low credit score.

Experts have their ratings for each of the options, which are based on their professional evaluation.

– Insurance

Insurance on cars, health, and life, as well as its terms and rates, are all integrated into the Nerdwallet’s Insurance section.

If you need to research before purchasing an insurance package, NerdWallet gives an opportunity to see all the differences in terms, fees, and rates for each insurance company in the US.

Compare Car Insurance
Compare Car Insurance

Our homes are one of our biggest assets, so whenever we choose which company to insure it, we should always consider thorough research.

The website firstly asks whether the user owns or rents the house and by inserting ZIP code, options provided by experts are presented with detailed information on terms and conditions.

– Money

An important part of our lives is to efficiently use our budget. Nerdwallet gives a very optimal solution to this by having a budget calculator in the money section.

You simply input your after-tax income, and it optimizes the monthly effective usage by dividing into necessities, wants, and savings. Nerdwallet presents 26 different ways to earn extra money, either from home or outside.

How to make money
How to make money

These jobs may include jobs on freelancing platforms, websites like TaskRabbit, or even deliveries. The website also categorizes the options based on how fast you can make money from those activities.

The activities may be renting out a parking spot, driving for Uber, and even selling unused gift cards.

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– Travel

And the last but not the least is the Travel section. If you are planning to have a trip and you want to organize your budget accordingly, this is exactly the section you may be interested in.

Travel Credit Cards
Travel Credit Cards

Experts offer travel credit cards and share information about their optimal usage to ease and smooth your traveling experience. Just like in the credit card section, here as well, there is a side by side comparison tool available for travel cards presenting all of the cards’ features, advantages, and benefits.

Experts also share their personal experiences with the users to make their traveling experience even more enjoyable.

Media coverage

With its rapid growth in users and revenue, Nerdwallet has been a very appealing entrepreneurial topic for media and press who brought it to the attention of many individuals as an inspirational and innovative project.

In 2016, Inc Magazine covered a story about Nerdwallet with the headline “The $520 million Company that’s solving all your financial needs.”

Inc Magazine
Inc Magazine

The article captured the increasing trend of Nerdwallet’s features and how the 1-featured website turned into a comprehensive network with more than a dozen sections. Inc Magazine highlights the importance of Nerdwallet’s scope that fits into the post-financial crisis world.

The reason we had the 2008 financial crisis in the first place was the lack of transparency in the financial sector as well as financial illiteracy. Inc Magazine raises awareness of Nerdwallet and how it helps to prevent further financial crisis.

In 2018, Tim Chen’s inspiring story on how the business grew from $800 to $500 million got into CNDC.

Chen told the story of coming up with his entrepreneurial ideas and how he put it into action. The channel found it very inspiring and interesting how the brightest ideas come upon daily life problem-solving.

Chen always mentions in his interviews that Nerdwallet started as a spreadsheet, saying that even as a professional, it took him a week of research to understand and gather all the information on what the major banks and credit organizations were offering.

It’s interesting how at first it seemed so time-consuming with only 1 section available on the website. After a decade, the website provides 10 times more research tools and techniques for its users. 

Chen also highlights the importance of partnerships in the development of Nerdwallet. Meanwhile, the company tries to be transparent about receiving money from some of its partners in the financial sector.

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A note on their “About” section says that even though they have some relationships with their partners, it has never affected the advice they are giving.

This way, the company ensures there are no threats to the objectivity of the website and that the information provided is fairly presented to the users.

How does Nerdwallet make money

Nerdwallet presents its “secret ingredient” of making money right on the website by saying that there is no secret and that there are cases when they get paid as soon as someone gets a credit card, mortgage or something else through the website.

But they claim that it never affects recommendations from Nerdwallet. Experts are always on the users’ side, even if it means they don’t make a cent. In fact, founders admit it is very hard for the website to earn money and that the monthly revenue is always less than they expect.

Interesting facts

  • It is interesting how the idea of creating the website started from founder Tim Chen’s daily life decision on helping his sister to choose between credit cards, or how Chen refers to it “NerdWallet started as a spreadsheet”.
  • As previously mentioned, the website’s mission is to provide its users with transparent and thorough information regarding finance-related topics to help them make optimal decisions.
  • The website was founded in 2009, just after a major financial crisis that hit especially US citizens, founders created the platform with an ambition to prevent such economic downfalls by enhancing the financial literacy of citizens.
  • Chen and Gibson started with the initial investment amount of $800 and 3 staff members, 2 of whom were the founders themselves.
  • It’s also worth mentioning that initially, Chen didn’t have that much ambition to get to the place he is at now. On one of his interviews, the founder said he wasn’t that mission-oriented at first and was more concerned about whether the company will be successful or not. As for now, he always mentions how his staff, or “Nerds”, as they are usually referred to, inspire him and make him even more sure that the company is tracking its mission.
  • The website has many partners in the financial world, however, when creating its articles, they rely on objectivity rather than on connections. At the top of each article, you can see the little notice, “At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.
  • If you think about it, personal finance decisions are an inevitable part of our lives, which we make every single day. At first glance, you may think those are too complex to understand, but Nerdwallet simplifies and makes even the most puzzling questions smooth and simple.
  • Even though Nerdwallet’s target audience is millennials, the website is helpful for everyone from students to the workforce. The website itself is very useful in daily matters. We face financial issues every day, and whenever the need for advice comes up, turning to Nerdwallet is always a good option. For some of its users, Nerdwallet has been a lifestyle for almost a decade.
  • Employees of the company update the information all the time so that the customers get the most recent and accurate data on every financial subject. By always keeping up with trends, Nerdwallet is always helpful and creates a positive experience for its users.
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So, if you are planning on making your next financial decision, Nerds are there to give all the answers to your concerns.

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Andrei Shilkov

Blog author. I am well versed in Finance and Digital Marketing. I have two bachelors degrees in Finance. Born in Russia, but later moved to the USA, to western Pennsylvania, the city of Pittsburgh. I have a Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) certificate. I also worked at IRS and Microsoft.

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