How Unit helped Mos scale and grow exponentially
Mos saw an opportunity to help students pay for college, build financial health, and avoid debt.
Mos was able to seamlessly scale operations by partnering with Unit. After launch, they reached #3 in the Apple App store, as well as #1 among personal-finance apps.
Mos is a financial app that helps college students build a solid financial foundation. Since the company started in 2017, they have helped their 400,000 users secure more than $1.5 billion in scholarships and financial aid.
“Students don’t have a lot of money, so they are at the forefront of all kinds of exploitations: overdraft, scams, everything,” says Amira Yahyaoui, Mos’s Founder and CEO. “Our mission is to tear down those barriers and give them a road to financial freedom.”
The initial concept was simple: consolidate all of the money available to help students pay for college (more than $160 billion) in a single marketplace. They also provided financial aid advisors to help students find the right scholarships, apply, and even negotiate for more funds.
It was a hit, but students wanted even more. They kept telling Mos they needed help with the rest of their finances, not just scholarships. Such feedback is critical, as it forms the basis of Mos’s product roadmap. It led them to launch banking services in September of 2021.
What Mos built with Unit:
When thinking about how to provide banking services to their customers, Mos considered three approaches:
Ultimately, they chose Unit (a platform) for several reasons. It was important to go to market quickly; they needed compliance support; and they wanted a solution that could scale efficiently.
“We chose Unit because they’re as fast-moving and innovative as we are,” says Yahyaoui. “Of all our options, they represented the lightest lift and the most complete set of banking features.”
Mos was able to launch banking services in just three months and partnered closely with Unit throughout that time. To date, more than one hundred thousand users have signed up—an increase of over 14x. One of the biggest draws has been Mos’s custom-designed debit cards, which feature bold, contrasting colors and a playful typeface.
For many startups, growth is hard to predict. Months of slow signups can be followed by bursts of incredible activity.
That’s what happened to Mos in November 2021: a series of successful organic and referral-based marketing campaigns led to exponential user growth over the course of a single weekend. For Mos, it was an unqualified success. Their app reached #3 in the Apple App Store, as well as #1 among personal finance apps.
For Unit, too, it was an important milestone. As a result of Mos’s big weekend, Unit received more than 7.2 million API calls in 24 hours, the platform’s single busiest day up to that point. Fortunately, Unit was able to scale with demand and enable Mos’s explosive growth.
“Unit has been amazing,” says Mos CEO Amira Yahyaoui. “The API is rock-solid, and the team are true partners, going above and beyond to help us achieve our goals.”
In particular, Mos credits Unit’s Compliance team, led by Chief Compliance Officer Amanda Swoverland, for their can-do mindset and depth of knowledge. “We wouldn’t have been able to scale so quickly without them,” says Yahyaoui.
Mos’s initial product was designed to connect students to money that could help them pay for college without taking on debt. As Mos evolves, they’re increasingly helping students with their whole financial journey.
“Adulting is hard,” says Yahyaoui. “And it’s not just about managing debt. It’s about turning money into something that opens doors rather than closes them.”
To that end, Mos is investing in several key initiatives. They’re publishing educational content that helps college students learn how to build financial health. They plan to launch financial products that will help their users build credit. Finally, they’ve recently launched a rewards program, giving students 1% cash back on purchases in their favorite category (e.g., shopping food and beverage, entertainment, travel).
“We’re excited to partner with Unit on a number of these initiatives,” says Yahyaoui. “They’ve functioned as a true extension of our team, building our feedback into their roadmap.”
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Mos is a financial technology company and is not a bank. Banking services provided by Blue Ridge Bank N.A.; Member FDIC. The Mos Visa® Debit Card is issued by Blue Ridge Bank N.A. pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.