Loan Shark Evolution: Lender Changes Name, Keeps Up Shady Practices

Can a fintech loan shark change its ways?

Andy Spears
3 min readSep 25, 2022


Photo by Marcelo Cidrack on Unsplash

A company that once billed itself as a “socially responsible” payday lender was ordered to shut down for predatory practices — but the remnants of LendUp are still doing damage.

Jason Mikula at Fintech Business Weekly reports on LendUp’s latest shenanigans — and the operations of a “new” banking product by way of Kinly.

When LendUp was facing existential regulatory threats to its payday lending business, it attempted a last-ditch pivot: starting a neobank called Ahead Money.

While the company was able to get the project live, it’s unclear how many users it amassed before LendUp, as first reported by Fintech Business Weekly, quietly entered liquidation. As part of that liquidation, it appeared that LendUp sold or transferred its neobank assets, including user accounts, to Kinly (formerly known as First Boulevard and Be Tenth) — though neither representatives for LendUp/Ahead nor Kinly ever responded to inquiries confirming this to be the case.

Users of Kinly, including those transferred from Ahead Money, have been complaining on social media and in app store reviews that, while they can deposit money to Kinly, they’ve been unable to transfer money out of the app, and have faced long delays in receiving debit cards or even getting responses from Kinly’s customer service team.

This all sounds pretty unpleasant. Imagine funding an account or transferring money to an account and then NOT being able to access those funds.

Or, worse, imagine having your account MOVED to a new provider without any notice, as happened to customers of Ahead Money.

What’s happening now for customers of LendUp/Ahead/Kinly is, unfortunately, not at all uncommon as new lenders dressed in fintech packages seek to skirt state and federal banking regulations and profit from misleading consumers.



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .