Earn More. Go Far. Optimize your Credit Card Rewards with Card Curator.
Card Curator is a 100% independent, objective tool empowering individuals to optimize the value of their credit card spending. By choosing the right cards, and using them wisely, Card Curator members can earn thousands of dollars in cash back to spend on hobbies or miles to fuel travel plans.
The Start of Card Curator: While working as a volatility trader at Merrill Lynch in 2017, Card Curator co-founder Taylor Garner wanted to make the most of the vacation days allotted to him. At the time, Chase Sapphire Reserve was offering ~100k points to new members if they achieved a minimum spend in the first few months of having a card. He jumped on it, because he had a new goal: to take a luxury trip to Asia that fall. He wanted three close friends to join him, so he concocted a plan that started with that Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Taylor had been playing the credit card rewards game since 2013 as a hobby, but had never planned an entire trip for multiple people before.
The three friends were in, and within days they had planned an extravagant 16-day trip to Japan and Korea, fueled entirely by credit card points. They did the math: total minimum spend for the four vacationers across five to six new credit cards each (amounting to ~$20k minimum spend for the 6-month period prior to the vacation) would yield over $25,000 in total cash value in rewards for each of them — a 100%+ return on dollars spent, just to open a series of credit cards and hit the minimums.
While Taylor and his friends were flying first-class from New York to Seoul, Seoul to Tokyo, Osaka back to Seoul, and Seoul to New York, and staying in 4- and 5-star hotels on points the entire trip, the idea for Card Curator came to him. Why aren’t credit card holders taking advantage of these flight and hotel points, and cash back awards?
As soon as they returned to New York, Taylor began building an algorithm to automate the card optimization process, and Card Curator was born. One year later, in October 2018, Taylor quit his Wall Street career to focus on Card Curator full-time. Taylor has personally opened 100+ credit cards, unlocked over $100,000 of awards for himself, and maintained a FICO score north of 800.
Today, Card Curator has evolved into a fully automated mobile application that recommends the best credit card for any given transaction, determines the suite of cards needed for each customer to achieve personalized travel goals, maximizes charitable giving contributions through award points, and offers an easy way to manage and track all award program balances, including current and past spending.
Card Curator’s Product Offering: Card Curator has a simple value proposition:
“We want to put the most amount of money in your pocket as we can.” – Taylor Garner, Co-Founder
The company does this in a few ways.
First, Card Curator maintains a series of proprietary algorithms to automate the card awards process. When an app user sets a personalized travel goal in the application, it will determine the optimal way to finance the travel solely through the redemption of awards to minimize cash impacts to the customer. Take an incoming fully vaccinated first-year MBA student as an example. If they would theoretically like to spend the summer prior to the upcoming semester backpacking across the U.S., Card Curator will tailor a set of cards to achieve that travel goal. Depending on the customer’s specific travel goal, Card Curator will create a new, bespoke set of steps to achieve that target.
Additionally, Card Curator can maintain a mobile wallet for each customer, which tracks their spending patterns against the suite of credit cards they maintain and will recommend specific cards for specific transactions. For example, if I’m using Card Curator and pull up to the gas station, Card Curator uses geolocation services to recognize that I’m at a gas station (if geolocating capabilities are turned on), and recommends a specific credit card to optimize my cashback while I fill the tank!
Finally, the Card Curator platform will maintain in a single location the status of all of the awards programs their users maintain, allowing them to check point accumulation across credit cards, check progress towards minimum spend goals on newly-opened credit cards, and manage their mobile wallet easily and efficiently.
Card Curator’s revenue is received via a flat membership fee of $5.99 / month for the premium version of the platform, though a non-premium version is free for users. Alternatively, when Card Curator users lock in credit card awards, the app offers them an option to donate some of those winnings to Card Curator, which has led to an average 2-3% fee rate. Either way, given that Taylor and the Card Curator team have a clear value proposition to customers – helping them unlock credit card awards – there is a clear path forward for generating revenue for the company.
The Card Curator Team: Taylor co-founded the company with his father, Bruce Garner, who has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry across New York, London, and Singapore. Before Taylor convinced him to be chairman of Card Curator, he spent his time building global commodity trading businesses.
Taylor and Bruce have assembled 10 full-time employees and advisors to join their cause. Advisors span an impressive range of serial entrepreneurs, founders, and engineers, and include notable names such as Kerim Derhalli, CEO & Founder of Invstr; Steve Duckworth, Co-Founder & CEO of HarmonyPSA; and Desmond Fitzpatrick, a Quantum Ambassador at IBM who is handling building Card Curator’s AI/ML-based web scrapers.
Early Success of Card Curator: Card Curator’s successes to date have garnered significant attention, including winning Wharton’s Summer Venture Award in 2021, which is awarded to promising entrepreneurs in the Penn ecosystem. Additionally, Taylor is a member of Penn’s VIP-X accelerator program, which puts the full backing of Wharton’s entrepreneurial resources behind the company. Additional awards include the WeissFund Tech House Grant and placing as a semi-finalist of MIT’s FinTech competition out of approximately 200 companies.
Card Curator launched its platform on the Apple Store and Google Play store in March, has already had 1,000+ downloads and maintains ~250 active users – all without any outbound marketing campaigns. On the day of its soft launch, Card Curator was the highest-rated FinTech on ProductHunt, with ~600 upvotes within 24 hours, which led to an uptick in application downloads both that day and in the weeks that followed.
The company’s primary competitors are viewed largely as substitute products, including The Points Guy blog and two other mobile applications, MaxRewards and CardPointers. Card Curator, however, is the only platform that both helps users reach their travel goals and is the only 100%-independent platform offering credit card advice, without any kickbacks or referral fees from card companies or banks.
“We don’t get any kickbacks. We don’t get any referral fees. We are purely 100%-independent advice. You are our client. You are our customer. We are here as a service for you only.” – Taylor Garner, Co-Founder
Card Curator’s Growth and Future: Card Curator plans to continue to build on its successes enabled through its well oversubscribed $415k pre-seed funding secured in late 2020, and is considering raising seed capital this summer, which would be used to design and launch an enhanced version of the product, with the ability to support millions of users, and begin an outbound marketing campaign to push usership on the application. They are open to inquiries from VCs. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.