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How to migrate to better financial infrastructure

Migrating to a new embedded finance platform requires planning, collaboration, and careful execution. Find out what it entails and how to get it right.

Last updated:

June 10, 2024

9 minutes

Your checklist for a seamless migration

The decision to migrate to a new financial infrastructure platform is a big one. Migrations can be complex, and many companies struggle to get it right. 

If you’re thinking about migrating, you’ve likely been running into one or both of the following issues:

  1. Your current platform and/or bank partner is unreliable or uncommunicative
  2. Your current platform and/or bank partner doesn’t support the products you want to build

Left unresolved, these problems can hamper your growth and undermine the customer experience. The good news is that finding the right partner can quickly put you on a path to success. Done well, your migration can even feel like an “upgrade” for your customers.

Migrating to the right financial infrastructure partner can put you on a path to success.

At Unit, we’ve helped dozens of tech companies migrate, and we're continuing to invest in streamlining the process to ensure seamless migrations for our customers. 

If you're a leader at a tech company who's thinking about whether and how to migrate to better financial infrastructure, this guide is for you. In it, we'll answer questions like:

  • What should I look for in a new embedded finance platform?
  • What do I need to do to prepare?
  • What will the migration look like for my customers?
  • How do I get started?

What to look for when you're migrating

A question we hear often from tech companies is: when should we migrate? 

If your existing financial infrastructure platform is putting a strain on your business growth, the answer is: as soon as possible. 

Once you’ve decided to migrate, your first step is finding a new platform and a new bank partner. Be sure to diligence them thoroughly; their partnership will be critical during the migration and beyond. Here’s what to look for:

  1. A frictionless migration experience. Migrating should feel like a seamless experience for your customers; if anything, it should feel like an upgrade. Make sure your embedded finance platform offers a clear path to migration, including customers whose migrations may require additional documents, a manual review, or both. 
  1. A complete product. The inability to launch necessary financial products is one of the main reasons companies migrate in the first place—so make sure you understand what your new platform can support before you sign a contract. At a minimum, they should support both your current product suite and your future roadmap.
  1. Strong bank relationships. It’s important to choose an embedded finance platform that facilitates a strong, ongoing relationship between you and your bank partner, as they will have a significant impact on the success of your program. The bank will approve new-product requests and review your marketing materials, to give just two examples. Every embedded finance platform works with a different network of banks, and the partnerships can be structured in different ways. Be sure to evaluate your potential bank partners, compare the terms they’re offering, and understand your responsibilities.
  1. Premium support. Look for a platform who has extensive experience migrating companies like yours. You should also seek out dedicated support resources and competitive service-level agreements. In the event you’ve got questions or experience an issue, you’ll want to be able to reach someone quickly.
  1. Competitive economics. Launching embedded finance products can generate robust new revenue streams. But different platforms offer different economics—on everything from interchange revenue to deposit fees. As you evaluate potential providers, get detailed revenue models for each, and see how they compare with what you’re generating now.

What do I need to do to prepare? 

Once you’ve chosen a platform, it will be their job to guide you through the necessary steps. That includes preparing for your migration.

Broadly speaking, the preparation falls into three categories:

  • Establish a timeline and clear milestones. As a first step, you should create a detailed project plan with your new platform. What’s your target timeline? How will you measure success? Your migration will depend on the timeline you build with your new bank partner and the date your prior partnership ends. 
  • Streamline KYB/KYC. Choosing a new bank partner requires you to re-submit your customers for KYB and/or KYC. Fortunately, you can simplify this step by pre-filling the required form fields for your customers. All they’ll have to do is verify their information by tapping “submit.” Setting this up will take some preparation—but the seamless customer experience is well worth the effort. 
  • Prepare for customer questions. During the migration, your customers are likely to have questions. To prepare, you can let them know what’s coming and share a list of Frequently Asked Questions; this will lighten the load on your support team and improve the customer experience. Still, you should expect an increase in support tickets and plan accordingly. 

What will the migration look like for my customers?

One of the most common questions we hear is: what will the migration experience be like for my customers? 

The answer depends on your approach. On one hand, migrations can be fast, straightforward, and easy for your customers. On the other hand, without proper planning, they can create a long, drawn-out, and frustrating process.

For existing Unit customers that move to a new bank partner, we've built a white-label migration tool to streamline the end-customer experience.

Here’s what a frictionless migration looks like:

  1. Capture customer consent. Your customer receives a notification about the new bank partner via push notification, email, and/or SMS. They’ll need to consent to the migration and accept the new terms and conditions. Once they provide their consent, you can move them forward with applying for and creating their new account. 
  1. Submit a new application. Your customer receives a pre-filled application form, which they can update as needed if any of their information has changed. When they’re ready, they tap “Submit.”
  1. Provide additional documentation. In some cases, your new bank partner may require additional documents to approve a customer’s application. Your customer is notified via email or push notification to submit their additional information. 
  1. Create new accounts. Upon application approval (typically in less than 10 seconds), your customer’s new bank account is created instantly. 
  1. Transfer funds. Once your customer authorizes it, their funds will be transferred, depending on how you set up their flow of funds at this stage. 
  1. Issue new cards. Your customer is issued the same number of debit cards (physical and virtual) that they had previously. 
  1. Confirmation. Once their new account is set up, they receive a confirmation with their new virtual debit card numbers, their physical card arrival date, and their new routing numbers and account numbers. Finally, their old account is closed.

Migration case study: Relay

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

By 2022, they were 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 financial infrastructure platform was not equipped to scale with them.

It could take as many as five days for their previous 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.

"During our migration, Thread Bank and Unit were true partners to our business. Whenever we had a question, they would respond within hours." - Yoseph West, Co-Founder and CEO of Relay

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.”

Relay is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided byThread 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.

How do I get started?

Unit is a financial infrastructure platform that helps platforms like yours partner with banks to launch embedded banking and lending products.

To date, dozens of leading platforms and marketplaces have trusted us to help them move away from legacy financial infrastructure and deliver best-in-class money experiences. 

With Unit, you get:

  • Migration support. We offer dedicated support and API tools to make the process as easy as possible.
  • Fully-featured technology. We’re the only platform that can support a complete set of embedded banking and lending products. You’ll be able to quickly launch the modern money experiences your customers expect. 
  • Reliability. Unit handles more than 10 million API calls every day. Reliability is one of our core values; our API status is always available to check.
  • Robust network of bank partners. Unit offers a network of experienced bank partners. That way, you can access the most complete set of banking and lending products, the fastest time to market, and the most attractive economics.
  • Compliance. Our compliance program is led by compliance and risk veterans with decades of industry experience. They’ll guide you through processes like KYC, transaction monitoring, and manual account reviews. They’ll also work closely with you and your new bank partner on marketing compliance and customer complaint management—so you can stay focused on scaling your business.

Ready to learn more about migrations and how we can help? Contact us to book a demo or start building in our sandbox.

Originally published:

In this guide

Frequently asked questions

How long will it take for my customer to have an active card?

Once the card is shipped, your customer will receive it in about 7-10 days. 

With Unit, your customers can use a virtual card while they wait for their new physical card. 

Learn more

How difficult will it be to get my customers to migrate?

For many customers, opening a new financial account can be stressful—and it can be difficult to convince them to go through with it.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make it easier:

  • Help your customers understand what to expect. When you notify your customers, share what will happen and how they’ll benefit. Make their next steps quick and simple to follow. Be sure to provide your FAQs and a way to reach your support team.
  • Provide the simplest possible application form. For a great user experience, your application form should be easy to read and click through. Better yet, pre-fill their application form; all they’ll have to do is confirm the information and click “submit.”
  • Make sure they have their new card(s). Before the prior bank closes their old accounts, ask your customer to confirm they’ve received and activated their new ones.

Why do we have to re-submit our customers for KYB and/or KYC? 

Choosing a new bank partner requires you to re-submit your customers for KYB/KYC. That’s because the bank is required by law to verify the identities of all new customers.

Up next

Check out our guides page to learn more about embedded finance

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