Thomas Priore: Priority’s CFTPay Helps Consumers Find Financial Wellness

One of the key components of financial wellness involves using best practices to manage and pay down debt. Through its CFTPay platform, Priority offers consumer finance businesses and their clients an innovative solution to that challenge. Thomas Priore, CEO and co-founder of Priority, said CFTPay can provide important support to help people achieve financial wellness.


What CFTPay offers is increasingly important, given current economic trends. Citing numbers from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Associated Press recently reported that the share of credit card debt more than 90 days overdue reached 10.7% in the first quarter of 2024. That’s a 12-year high.


Consumer credit card debt has reached $1.12 trillion from just under $1 trillion a year ago. Overall, American households are carrying a record level of $17.3 trillion in debt. While that number includes good debt such as mortgages, it also includes credit cards, store credit cards, home equity loans, revolving credit, and auto loans. 


It’s a situation that troubles economists and policymakers alike because of the financial pressure it puts on those already struggling with inflation and wage stagnation. 


“CFTPay represents a key component in our continued focus on bringing our clients the best possible embedded finance technology,” said Thomas Priore. “Much like with a business, personal debt can slow or even completely stall a person’s future plans because they face challenges paying off creditors and loans. CFTPay was designed to help people organize their money in a way that provides the best pathway toward financial wellness.”


How Does CFTPay From Priority Work?


CFTPay offers debt settlement companies and other consumer finance businesses a secure, purpose-built banking platform. It provides transaction monitoring, draft authorization audits, fee collection practice monitoring, and more. 


By using CFTPay, consumer finance businesses can collect, store, and send money, make and take payments, and also manage business and consumer accounts. While this helps businesses streamline operations, it also allows them to offer their customers a trustworthy, secure, and reliable system to manage their payments to creditors.


Individual consumers paying off debt can create a separate account to deposit money specifically dedicated for payments to creditors. This account, insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., is separate from the consumer’s checking or savings account. CFTPay automatically makes payments to creditors on the customer’s behalf when directed by their debt settlement company.


Priority has strict security protocols for data management, Thomas Priore said. These are compliant with Payment Card Industry data security standards and SOC2 (Service Organization Control Type 2,) a cybersecurity framework developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. All funds are held at one of Priority’s partner FDIC-insured banks in a special purpose account that is owned by individual consumers.


Thomas Priore Says CFTPay a Useful Tool To Solve Payment Challenges


The availability of CFTPay is especially important in a time of rising consumer debt and a series of challenges that can make paying creditors more difficult.


Consumers have always faced challenges when striving to pay creditors. These include limited cash flow, psychological stress, a lack of financial knowledge, unexpected expenses that impact the ability to pay creditors — and the pressure of paying off debt. Lingering debt can lead to a lower credit score, further impacting or derailing long-term financial goals. 


Unfortunately, recent macroeconomic trends such as inflation and high interest rates have exacerbated these challenges. In the past decade, the average annual percentage interest rate on credit cards almost doubled from 12.9% to 22.8%. That’s the highest level since the federal government began tracking this figure in 1994. 


While inflation began slowing in 2023, the rate remains at its highest level in 20 years. Higher costs for groceries, electricity, auto insurance, and heating/cooling, along with higher interest rates, may leave people with less cash available to chip away at debt, according to CNBC.


That’s where an automated system that helps people stick to a debt payment strategy can be of great help. Thomas Priore said CFTPay is designed to help streamline payments to creditors and make it easier for people to organize their financial lives.


CFTPay is one of many advanced technology tools offered by Priority. What started as a payments processing company two decades ago has expanded to provide innovative financial technology to businesses of all sizes, including the MX Merchant Suite, Plastiq, and CPX automated accounts payable.


The expansion of financial services is part of the company’s long-term business strategy, Thomas Priore said. “Our consistent market-leading organic growth results reflect [that] today’s businesses have a broader expectation for their payments technology providers. They now expect us to deliver financial solutions that transcend basic merchant acquiring and help them accelerate cash flow and optimize working capital,” he said on an earnings call with analysts and investors earlier this year.

“Priority was built with intention to meet these exacting customer needs and be a trusted partner,” he said.