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June 21st 2023

Nova Credit Partners with HUGS to Help Students Access Housing in Competitive California Market

Nova Credit, the world’s leading consumer-permissioned credit bureau, today announced a partnership with HUGS, the San Diego-based startup that’s defining the future of student housing.


Nova Credit, the world’s leading consumer-permissioned credit bureau, has announced a partnership with HUGS, the San Diego-based startup that’s defining the future of student housing. The partnership will allow HUGS to leverage Nova Credit’s cashflow underwriting solution, Cash Atlas™, to improve access to housing for college students locked out of the San Diego market and enable property managers to reach more students across the credit spectrum, without taking on any added risk.

Credit history is often the foundation for securing basic services needed for everyday life – finding an apartment being a prime example as landlords use the information presented on a credit report to evaluate a prospective tenant’s risk. However, for consumers without a credit history, this can affect their ability to find housing. For recent high school graduates and college students, this can be a major barrier when starting the next chapter of their lives.

This stems from the “Catch-22” with traditional credit scores in the U.S. Even though these individuals haven’t done anything wrong when it comes to their financial health in the eyes of the bureaus, they haven’t done anything to prove their creditworthiness. As a result, a majority of consumers in younger generations are locked out before they can start their credit journeys – it’s reported that 80% of 18–19-year-olds are unscored or credit invisible.

Nova Credit’s Cash Atlas™ helps overcome the challenges presented by traditional credit scores by analyzing bank transaction data, such as cashflow, and generating a complete risk profile for lenders. Through this partnership, HUGS has integrated Nova Credit’s Cash Atlas™ solution into its platform so landlords in San Diego can have an enhanced view of applicants’ affordability and likelihood to pay, enabling them to reach more consumers across the credit spectrum, including the growing student audience that is largely excluded today. 

“Finding housing in San Diego is a major challenge for students in this area and is a problem that is further compounded by the additional hurdles new-to-credit consumers have to face in the apartment search,” said Carl Dumesle, co-founder and CEO of HUGS. “Our partnership with Nova Credit will help transform our business by expanding our ability to reach thousands of other students that are locked out of the housing system in the area and give them the chance to start their college journeys on the right foot. We are not only excited to offer this solution to students, but also to our network of landlords that are looking to safely access this audience without any added risk.”

“The apartment rental process is historically known for being challenging to navigate. For younger students without thick credit files, there is an added layer of pressure to demonstrate they are a trustworthy tenant. Until recently, these consumers have had to go through added layers of security such as paying a large deposit or finding a co-signer to get landlords to accept their applications,” said Misha Esipov, co-founder and CEO of Nova Credit. “Through this integration, landlords on the HUGS network will now be able to benefit from the power of cash flow underwriting using Cash Atlas™ and students can start this new chapter of their lives on stable financial footing.”

“Moving to a new city is already a stressful experience and finding out the additional hurdles students face with their lack of credit history is often an additional weight placed on their shoulders,” said Dr. Michael Crawford, owner of Crawford Design and Development. “With HUGS, landlords are able to leverage students’ bank account data to evaluate creditworthiness and make more informed decisions, without having to require students go through extra hoops such as finding a co-signer.”

Initially launching in the San Diego market, HUGS has plans to expand operations to San Francisco in the coming year, another metropolitan area in high demand for housing and a high population of college students. During this expansion, HUGS plans to carry over its use of Cash Atlas™ to better serve students looking for housing and provide new opportunities for landlords in this area. 


Nova Credit is a consumer-permissioned credit bureau with two products that help businesses make more fair and informed decisions on millions of ‘thin file’, no credit history, or new-to-country applicants. The Credit Passport® unlocks cross-border credit bureau data to help businesses underwrite new-to-country newcomer populations. The Cash Atlas™ provides greater insight into the cash flows of any applicant, including verifying their income with greater precision than alternatives. Businesses use these products to approve more applicants without taking on more risk, and consumers are empowered to put their best foot forward in their applications. The company’s differentiated data sources and proprietary analytics are used by leading organizations like American Express, Verizon, HSBC, SoFi, and Yardi. Nova Credit is backed by investors including Kleiner Perkins, General Catalyst, Index Ventures, and Canapi as well as executives from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Citi. Learn more at www.novacredit.com or reach out to connect@novacredit.com


HUGS 'Housing Undergraduate & Graduate Students' is redefining the student housing industry by building comprehensive, student-focused housing solutions that bridge the gap between landlords and students. For more, visit http://www.hugs.com or reach out to support@hugs.com

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