A lot of companies say they support the queer community — while investing in projects and politicians that work against us.
You might believe you have no choice about where you put your money, because who knows what big banks and corporations do with your dollars after you turn them over? But you have more control than you think.
Your banking options are no longer limited to a few national banks and the one community institution in your neighborhood. You can set up a bank account entirely online — from your phone — through a mobile-first banking platform that caters to your specific needs.
Here are a few things to look for to choose a banking platform that cares about you and your chosen family as much as you do.
1. No fees or minimums
Especially if your income fluctuates, bank account minimums are stressful, and they can lead to surprise charges you didn’t account for.
Choose a banking platform that doesn’t make you pay just to keep your money there — and one that won’t judge you for your balance. You’ve got too many options for fee-free accounts to pay your bank an old-fashioned monthly maintenance fee.
2. Savings goals
We let you set personalized savings goals on the Daylight platform, because we think savers need more than “Christmas club” accounts to meet life’s goals.
A banking platform that works for the LGBTQ community understands we have a vast array of financial needs and goals, and it lets you put money aside for your specific goals without opening a dozen new accounts. That means you can save up for your unique goals, like surrogacy, gender affirmation surgeries or a trip to Palm Springs.
The best way to meet your savings goals is to pay yourself first, so we also let you automate your savings. Set rules to move money automatically into goals, and use round ups to contribute to your goals whenever you spend money.
People don’t use cash much anymore, so digital banking platforms need to include features that make saving just as easy as it was with an old change jar or piggy bank.
3. Account analytics and budgeting
Financial education in general is pretty lacking in the U.S. — but any education you did get was probably heteronormative and cisnormative.
We bet you didn’t learn how to budget for things like gender affirmation surgeries, HRT, adoption or surrogacy. And tips about the “right” and “wrong” ways to spend your money don’t usually take values into consideration. So… you can find great deals on groceries, but the store you shop at happens to support anti-trans politicians? Not a great tradeoff.
Banking platforms with useful budgeting tools are maddeningly rare.
Platforms with budgeting tools that fit the needs of queer people? Nearly non-existent — that’s why we created Daylight.
Our platform lets you see your account balance at a glance and set aside money for goals automatically, so you can live in the moment and worry less about your bottom line. We’re also the first banking platform to include analytics to show you how queer-friendly your spending is.
4. Use your chosen name
Everyone transitions in different ways and at a different pace, and many folks are barred from legal transitions because of the laws or regulations about name and gender marker changes in their state.
If your bank forces you to use a debit card displaying your deadname, you’re exposed to outing, discrimination and violence every time you make a purchase. That’s completely unacceptable.
We’re calling on all financial institutions to give customers the right to choose your name on your banking card, online accounts and other information through our #CallMeByMyName campaign with All Out and the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Until that’s the norm, look for this option when you choose a bank account. At Daylight, you get your chosen name on your card regardless of what your legal ID says.
5. Early direct deposit
Trying to cover your bills while living paycheck-to-paycheck? Getting paid a couple of days early could make a huge difference.
Many mobile-first banking platforms help you get paid ASAP with early direct deposit, and it’s been a game-changer for a lot of customers. Instead of waiting to see the money in your account on your scheduled payday, it’ll post as soon as your employer runs payroll — up to two days ahead of schedule.
Drinks on you this hump day happy hour?
6. Queer voices and faces
Your bank shouldn’t be yet another place you feel misunderstood and underrepresented. Money is personal and integral to every part of your life, and your experience with it shouldn’t be marked by awkward conversations.
Only a few banking platforms have any built-in community at all, and Daylight’s is the first designed specifically for and by the queer community.
Through our platform, you can connect with other folks who’ve been where you are, share your goals and get authentic advice. You can also celebrate financial wins with people who get why they’re such a big deal!
Our content and products are designed for LGBTQ people — not just “friendly” to you — because they’re designed by LGBTQ people. Our co-founders and everyone on our team identify as LGBTQ or allies — our CEO, Rob, is a gay man, and our COO, Billie, is a trans woman.
Look for a financial institution that isn’t just rainbow washing generic services, and choose one that’s made for you.
7. Access to fair loans and credit
Did you know that just 15 states explicitly protect against credit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity?
That means financial institutions can take your LGBTQ identity into account when determining your creditworthiness for things like credit card approvals and loan interest rates.
And it happens: In one Student Loan Hero survey, 40% of LGBTQ borrowers reported being denied financial assistance for college due to their sexual orientation. A National Community Reinvestment Coalition study found same-sex couples consistently pay higher closing costs and higher interest rates on mortgages than different-sex couples.
Few lenders advertise “LGBTQ credit cards,” but you can seek out companies offering products to increase access to credit for vulnerable communities. Look for credit cards designed for low or no credit score, like the Discover it card, Credit One Bank and Petal.
8. Rewards that align with your values
Modern banking platforms are increasingly offering cash back rewards for debit card spending, so you don’t have to take on credit card debt to get rewarded.
At Daylight, we offer rewards when you shop at thousands of businesses, plus a special 10% cash back for spending at queer bars and LGBTQ allied businesses. Plus, we’re donating $10 to LGBTQ charities for every person who signs up for an account.
It’s nice to know your money lives with an institution that cares about the community as much as you do.
Everything you expect from a bank account
To be clear, Daylight doesn’t offer queer-friendly banking to the detriment of other important banking features. You get best-in-class banking and a welcoming and inclusive company.
Your Daylight card is a fully-functioning debit card connected to a mobile-first banking platform and an FDIC-insured bank account. You get integration with mobile payment platforms, including Apple Pay and Google Pay, plus a free ATM withdrawal per month. Our platform is secured by 256-bit encryption, bank-level online protection.
Unlike many banking platforms, we’re welcoming to everyone. You don’t have to identify as LGBTQ to benefit from Daylight’s features — you’ll just find we prioritize the needs and preferences of queer bankers first (and don’t tolerate anyone who acts like a jerk to our community).
Learn more about Daylight’s features, and join the waitlist today.
Dana Sitar is a personal finance writer, editor, writing teacher and owner of Dana Media. She’s written about work and money for Forbes, the New York Times, CNBC and Inc. Magazine. She founded Healthy Rich to publish stories that illuminate the diversity of our relationships with work and money.