Startup Klutch lets code-savvy consumers create their own apps

A startup promising consumers with some programming ability greater control over their finances is now sending invitation codes to its waitlist of potential customers.

Klutch Technologies markets itself as the only card for developers, giving cardholders access to an application programming interface (API) that allows them to build and deploy MiniApps that can block transactions based on budget limits, send their 1% cash back to charity or an investment account, instantly pay their balance, and more.

“We created Klutch because we saw products come to market that claimed to be customized, but in reality, fell short in meeting more than one customer need,” co-founder Rachel Ehrlich said. “We realized that we can use the card as more of a hardware and give the user the ability to add the functionality they wanted on top. For example, if privacy is important to you, you can install a feature that creates single-use cards to protect exposure to multiple retailers having your data.”

Renato Steinberg co-founded a company called Alloy Card in 2019, and brought in Ehrlich started developing a similar card under the name Clutch around the same time. The two combined efforts in late 2020, and in May, they began sending invitation codes to developers looking to access the Klutch credit card. According to an SEC filingKlutch raised $840,000 in funding in June.

Steinberg has pursued multiple ventures before Klutch, most recently Saferize, a parental control service, and, a social network for style. He has served as chief technology officer of Credit Suisse Hedging-Griffothe Swiss investment bank’s wealth management operation in Brazil, and chief technology officer of Bento for Business, a card-based business spending management platform.

Before starting Klutch, Ehrlich was head of global transactions for flexible workspace operator Knotel. She also worked for TD Bank Group as a credit manager then vice president of relationship management and for Wells Fargo as a financial analyst.

Sean Anderson, an advisor to Klutch who previously worked with Steinberg at Bento, said the project envisions “bringing automated finances to the masses” and a way “customers can feel smart without having to micromanage card controls or decisions.”

The Klutch team has already built a handful of MiniApps that developers can browse and deploy in the Klutch Card mobile app, available for both Apple and Android mobile devices. Developers can also apply for access to build their own MiniApps, which then become available on the Klutch marketplace.

The pre-built MiniApps let users do things like export each transaction to a spreadsheet, block transactions for certain subscriptions, set and enforce monthly budgets by blocking transactions that exceed any budget, pay off the card’s balance every time a transaction goes through, and issue virtual burner cards.

Users can also request multiple physical cards linked to their account to provide to family members or use for travel — a feature one developer said was particularly exciting.

“One of the things I do is travel with extra copies of cards, but this only works in a few situations, like when I can trust no one else has it that will misuse it,” one developer said in the Klutch community chat. “With Klutch, I can travel with a backup card that has a unique number. If I lose a card, I can void it and just use the backup.”

Klutch provides the source code to MiniApps on GitHuba popular code repository, and API documentation on its website, giving developers guidance on how to make their own MiniApps and templates from which to work.

Klutch is currently available only to US residents but can be used internationally. The company had previously issued debit cards but announced in December that it was transitioning to credit cards.

This month, Steinberg told developers in the company’s public Slack chat room that in the coming month, Klutch plans to support paid MiniApps, which would allow developers to make money with a revenue split model similar to other app stores.

Klutch partners with financial data aggregator Plaid to link users’ external financial accounts to their Klutch account. Klutch uses Synapse Financial Technologies for its backend software, enabling it to offer banking services and products through Evolve Bank and Trust. Evolve is also Klutch’s card provider.

Many of Klutch’s offerings mirror those of other financial technology companies, and developers interested in analyzing and working with their own financial data can use other apps for similar purposes.

Among the most prominent examples is Plaid, which provides developers access to its own API and allows them to link multiple financial accounts to one app and track transactions on those accounts. Plaid is also letting some developers test out a function for processing transactions between accounts, and in Europe developers can initiate payments and create virtual accounts with Plaid.

Klutch has differentiated itself so far by giving developers direct programmatic control over their credit card — for instance, by letting them pay off the card’s balance after each transaction, redirect cash back and block transactions.


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