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Case study: Nav

How Unit helps Nav drive 2.5x deeper engagement through embedded banking and lending

What Bridge built with Unit:
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Nav saw an opportunity to improve their customer experience while deepening engagement, retention, and satisfaction.


With embedded banking and lending, Nav offers a single platform that small businesses can use to understand their cash flow and access their best financing options.

Data points

  • Nav serves over 1.8 million small businesses.
  • Customers who bank with Nav are now 2.5x more likely to use additional products from Nav—for example, applying for a loan in Nav's marketplace or subscribing to their detailed credit reports.
  • Customers who use Nav’s embedded banking and lending products have an average NPS score of 79, a 35% increase over non-banking customers.

A comprehensive financial platform for small businesses 

Nav is a platform that helps small businesses improve their financial health. 

Today, more than 1.8 million small businesses rely on Nav to manage their money and access their best financing options. Using Nav’s proprietary technology, they can find out what they qualify for—before they apply. 

“Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy,” says Greg Ott, CEO of Nav. “We’re building the control center they need to get a clear view of their finances.” 

Nav got their start as a lending and financing marketplace, but over time, they realized that many of their small-business customers struggled to understand and manage their cash flow. It was a problem that Nav was uniquely well-positioned to help them solve.

By offering an innovative financial product, Nav sets themselves apart from competitors. This helps them acquire and retain new customers—at a lower cost.

So they decided to launch embedded checking accounts and charge cards. In addition to the value these financial products generate for Nav’s customers, they also have the virtue of increasing engagement, retention, and revenue for Nav. 

To power their embedded financial products, Nav partners with Unit. In other words, Unit provides the necessary financial infrastructure while streamlining Nav’s compliance obligations and their relationship with their bank partner. That frees up Nav to focus scarce internal resources on delivering the best possible experience to their customers.

What Nav built with Unit

  • Business checking accounts
  • Business debit cards, both physical and virtual
  • Nav Prime, a daily-repayment business charge card
  • Fee-free, secure ACH payments
  • “Personalized financial snapshot” to manage cash flow

A complete set of banking and lending products

In their search for a partner to help them launch banking and lending, Nav evaluated all the major players in the space. They chose Unit for three reasons:

  1. A reliable, well-documented API
  2. A swift and smooth onboarding
  3. An innovative, collaborative partner in the journey

“Unit was the only platform that could deliver all of the products we needed,” says Ott. “In many cases, they’ve updated their roadmap to include features we requested.”

Today, when Nav’s customers are approved for financing, their funds can be automatically deposited into their Nav accounts, which function as a financial “mission control” for these small businesses. In addition, customers can use their Nav debit cards to cover expenses.

What’s more, Nav can leverage cash-flow data from customer checking accounts to more accurately pre-approve and recommend financing options. Nav can even predict when customers need financing and make targeted offers.

As a result, customers are engaging more with the platform: In fact, customers who bank with Nav are now 2.5x more likely to use additional products from Nav (for example, applying for a loan in Nav's marketplace or subscribing to their detailed credit reports). They’re also more satisfied with the product: customers who bank with Nav have an NPS score of 79, 35% higher than non-banking customers.

Charge cards drive engagement and retention 

With checking accounts and debit cards launched, Nav approached Unit with an idea for an entirely new financial product: a daily-repayment business charge card.

The card’s balance is repaid each day by automatically withdrawing funds from the customer’s checking account. Unlike a debit card, however, these repayments are reported to credit bureaus, which helps customers build a business credit history. 

Charge cards generate higher interchange than debit cards—and they have a higher average transaction value.

“In the past, credit could be a catch-22 for our customers," recalls Ott. "Many of them didn't have a credit history, so they couldn't get good loans. They ended up paying more for financing, on less favorable terms—and their financial health suffered as a result."

"We realized this was a problem we could help them solve," he continues.

Because many customers are already using Nav's embedded bank accounts, Nav has a good understanding of their cash flow. Nav can use that information to help underwrite their customers’ charge cards, deciding whether and how much credit to extend. As a result, Nav can offer credit to businesses who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access it.

The Nav Prime Card helps small business customers build credit. It's an offering that sets Nav apart from competitors.

How charge cards benefit Nav

Charge cards aren't just valuable for Nav’s customers. For Nav, they generate:

  • Product differentiation. By offering an innovative financial product, Nav sets themselves apart from competitors. This helps them acquire and retain new customers—at a lower cost.
  • Deeper engagement. Because the Nav Prime card is integrated with their day-to-day business expenses, customers who use it end up engaging more with Nav’s platform.
  • Risk mitigation. Using shorter repayment periods enables Nav to limit the risk of customers not repaying and reduces their amount of outstanding capital.

“When it came to charge cards, Unit was on board to innovate and build what we needed,” says Ott. “As a result, our platform is more compelling for new customers and we can better engage with our existing customers going forward.”

Partnering for innovation and long-term growth

Nav worked closely with Unit and their bank partner to develop and launch the Nav Prime card. It was the first time a daily-repayment charge card had been offered on Unit’s platform.

Capitalizing on these successes, Nav recently chose to renew their contract with Unit. Looking ahead, they plan to offer their customers new banking features like bill pay and invoicing. 

“With Unit, we can deliver products that our customers can’t get from a traditional bank,” says Ott. “Together, we’re building the platform our customers need to launch, execute, and scale.”

Nav Technologies, Inc. is a financial technology company and is not a bank. Banking services are provided by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A. and Thread Bank; both Members FDIC. The Nav Business Checking account is offered by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A. The Nav Prime Visa ® charge card is issued by Thread Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be issued everywhere Visa charge cards are accepted.

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