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Case study: Relay

How Relay helps entrepreneurs understand cash flow and build profitable businesses

What Bridge built with Unit:
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Relay saw an opportunity to improve their customer experience while increasing operational efficiency.


Relay partnered with Thread Bank and Unit to access the financial infrastructure they would need to deliver a strong customer experience.

The financial command center for small businesses

Relay is a platform that puts small businesses and their teams in control of their cash flow.

When you’re running a small business, understanding and managing your finances is a formidable challenge. You’re likely accepting payments from a variety of sources (e.g., Stripe, PayPal, ACH, wires)—and it can be difficult to get a complete picture of your revenues and expenses.

“The thing we think about all day is, how can we help small-business owners have more confidence in their finances?” says Yoseph West, co-founder and CEO of Relay. “How can we build software that will function as their Chief Financial Officer?”

Relay solves this problem by partnering with Thread Bank and Unit to provide access to online business banking. With Relay, small-business owners can simplify payments, automate financial tasks, and see all of their finances in one place. As a result, they can more easily understand their cash flow and manage expenses. 

By 2022, Relay was serving tens of thousands of active customers and processing billions per year in transactions. But the bigger they got, the more they realized that their existing embedded finance platform was not equipped to scale with them.

After migrating to Unit, Relay was able to improve their relationship with their bank partner and access the products they needed to grow.

With Thread Bank and Unit, Relay enables small businesses to access: 

Banking that puts customers in control

For many small-business owners, managing business finances can be overwhelming and time-consuming.

The problem is that most traditional banking services weren’t designed to meet their needs. They often require business owners to visit a branch to do things like deposit a check or send a wire. It’s also common to charge account fees and require minimum balances.

As a consequence, many small-business owners must make do with a single business account that gets used for everything from payroll to taxes. Some even manage their business finances from their personal bank accounts. These are frustrating experiences—ones that invite confusion and guesswork.

Through Relay, business owners can open multiple free checking accounts dedicated to specific goals in minutes, with no account fees or minimum balance requirements. Auto-transfer rules enable them to automate cash flow; other features like mobile deposit mean they can deposit paper checks without ever visiting a branch.

“Relay makes it easy to add accounts, cards, users, and vendors,” says Anthony Halsch, CEO at RoxBox Containers & Modifications. “I can separate out cash for specific projects or initiatives so that our budgets are set. I plan to use Relay for years to come.”

Delivering a seamless migration

However, as Relay grew, it became clear that their initial embedded finance provider would not be able to scale with them.

It could take as many as five days for the provider to respond to issues, and direct communication between Relay and their bank partner was prohibited. Pricing was also unclear: for example, Relay’s share of the interchange revenue was changed without explanation. 

Relay needed a seamless migration—and Unit delivered. Over the following weeks, Unit worked closely with Thread Bank and Relay to design a migration process that was proactive, thoughtful, and thorough. The three teams stayed in constant contact, meeting for daily standups when needed.

“During our migration, Thread Bank and Unit were true partners to our business,” says West. “Whenever we had a question, they would respond within hours.”

A platform built for scale

When choosing an embedded finance partner, Relay evaluated all the major players in the space. They chose Unit for the following reasons.

  • Direct bank partner relationship. From day one, Relay had a direct relationship and open communication with Thread Bank, their bank partner. 
  • Simple to launch. Relay leveraged Unit's robust API and clear documentation to achieve a smooth and predictable launch timeline. Unit’s tech is reliable and enabled them to cut their code base dramatically.
  • Complete, high-quality product. “Unit has the most complete solution on the market,” says West. “They offer access to the features that our customers expect.” By contrast, other solutions lack breadth and depth, and they are not updated as frequently.
  • Improved economics. Predictable platform fees, along with built-in economics of scale for interest and interchange revenue, helped Relay improve their average revenue per user. 
  • Responsive customer support. Unit provides high-quality answers to questions from Relay as part of their SLAs. These answers arrive the same day—and often within the same hour—that questions are submitted.
  • Increased operational efficiency. Unit combines best-in-class compliance tools with intuitive UIs and state-of-the art fraud monitoring. As a result, Relay experiences less fraud and receives fewer customer support tickets.

Partnering for long-term growth

Relay aims to be the go-to app for small business finances and accounting. With Thread Bank and Unit, they’re well on their way.

Through the partnership, Relay regularly collaborates with Thread Bank and Unit on a shared roadmap. Recent examples include enhancements to Check Writing, Check Deposits, and Wires.

Looking ahead, Relay plans to provide access to features like charge cards and cash deposit through their partnership with Thread Bank and Unit. These products will enable Relay’s customers to improve their financial outcomes while generating additional revenue for Relay.

“Choosing Unit was a no-brainer,” concludes West. “Looking back, I wouldn't consider working with any other provider.”

Relay is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided through Thread Bank; Member FDIC. The Relay Visa® Debit Card is issued by Thread Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa® debit cards are accepted.

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