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What to expect when you’re onboarding with your bank partner

Launching an embedded finance program can usually be accomplished in 2-3 months. Learn what's involved, what resources are available, and how to get started.

Last updated:

May 23, 2024

7 minutes

Launching embedded finance: your complete guide 

When you work with a bank partner to make banking and lending products (e.g., charge cards, high-yield accounts) available to your customers—that’s embedded finance.

Launching it is a big decision. On one hand, you can realize powerful new revenue streams while delivering better money experiences for your customers. In fact, embedded finance has the potential to increase revenue per user by 2–5x.

On the other hand, we’ve all heard stories of product launches that went over budget and took longer than expected. In today’s macroeconomic environment, it’s crucial to get to market quickly, with a minimum of engineering resources.

If you’re a tech leader who’s wondering what to expect during your Unit onboarding, this guide is for you.

Given what’s at stake, it’s important to think through what it takes to go live, what’s involved in the process, and what success looks like after launch.

Unit is a financial infrastructure platform. To date, we’ve helped nearly 200 leading tech companies partner with banks to make embedded financial products available to their customers. It’s our sole focus, and we’ve gotten onboarding down to a science. 

If you’re a tech leader who’s wondering what to expect while onboarding with your bank partner via Unit's platform, this guide is for you. In it, we'll answer questions like:

  • What does it take to launch?
  • What resources will be available to me?
  • What sets Unit and its network of bank partners apart?
  • What does success after launch look like?
Unit’s White-Label App is the fastest and easiest way to launch embedded banking and lending products.

What does it take to launch?

Before companies like Unit, launching embedded financial products typically required years, millions of dollars, and significant engineering resources.

Today, you can go live in 2–3 months. That’s because Unit provides all the technology you need to quickly make banking and lending services available to your customers. 

The biggest decision you'll have to make—the one that will most impact your time to market and the resources you'll need to invest—involves how you build your front end. That entails what your app or website’s user interfaces and user experiences are like.

Below are the three ways to do it:

  1. Quick start. If your goal is to get to market fast, with minimal engineering resources, we recommend our White-Label App. With just one developer and one line of code, you can embed a pre-built banking or lending experience directly in your app or website. (See it in action with a live demo.)
  1. Customizable building blocks. With one or two developers, you can embed our White-Label Components into your app. Think of our Components as building blocks: you can use some or all of them to easily customize the look, feel, and behavior of your app. Our Components are available for Web, React Native, iOS, and Android. 
  1. Fully custom. Of course, it’s also possible to build your front end from the ground up. In this case, you’ll need three to four developers. You’ll also need to plan for a longer launch timeline.

We often hear this question: “What if we’re planning to build our own front end, but we still want to get to market quickly and see how customers are engaging?”

To accomplish both goals, many companies choose to launch with our White-Label App while building a fully custom front end in parallel. When the custom front end is ready, they switch over.

Importantly, changing to a custom front end won’t impact your customers. They’ll continue to access your embedded financial products with no disruption in service.

What does onboarding involve?

Once you've chosen an approach to your front end, you'll be assigned a team dedicated to helping you launch your embedded financial products. 

Over the next 2–3 months, it will be their job to guide you along the path to go-live. Broadly speaking, the work falls into five buckets:

  • Bank partner. To launch embedded finance, you’ll need a bank partner. Unit works with multiple banks, so we’ll introduce you to a few that might be a good fit. After you and your bank partner have decided to work together, you’ll start to build, test, and approve your embedded financial products.
  • Compliance. Banking and lending are subject to dozens of regulatory requirements and compliance obligations. The good news is that we’ll be there at every step to help you navigate the process and provide tools that you can leverage. During onboarding, your main task will be to gather the information you’ll need to present to your bank partner. 
  • Capital and underwriting. If you plan to make lending and/or financing options available to your customers, then you’ll need to implement an underwriting model—a way of determining whether and how much money to offer each applicant. You’ll also need to source the operational capital that will fund your program. Fortunately, we can take both of these tasks off your plate with Unit Capital.
  • Cards. Debit, credit, and charge cards are a great way to help your customers spend money while generating interchange revenue for your platform. Setting them up is simple; it generally takes about five weeks. Just send us your logo, and we’ll take care of the rest. 
  • Support. Money is an important topic, and your customers are likely to have questions about your embedded financial products. To address them, you’ll need to set up a support platform (e.g., ZenDesk) and a process for handling these requests. We’ve helped our customers build strong support programs in the past, and we’re happy to provide guidance.

What support will be available to us?

Unit is more than a technology platform; we’re your partner at every step of the journey, from our kickoff call through launch and beyond. 

Here are some of the resources we provide during onboarding:

  1. Premium support. During onboarding, you’ll have access to a customer success manager, a compliance leader, and our solutions engineers. They’ll be available to address or escalate any questions that may arise.
  1. Build in our sandbox. Want to try out a new product or feature? We make it easy to build a functioning prototype in minutes. Start building in our Sandbox today.
  1. Docs and guides. Our documentation walks you through requirements and instructions for launching embedded financial products. Meanwhile, our technical guides take a broader view into how our platform works.
  1. API status. Encountering technical difficulties? Check out our API status to determine whether the problem is on our end or yours. For context, Unit handles more than 10 million API calls every day while maintaining 99.997% historical uptime. 
  1. Roadmap and changelog. Our product roadmap is public and open to customer feedback. We also publish a monthly changelog with recent updates and releases.

What sets Unit apart from competitors?

Your choice of an embedded finance platform can make or break your program’s success—so it’s critical to get it right. 

Unit is the market leader in embedded finance. Today, we support banking for over 1.2 million end-customers, process more than $34 billion in annualized transactions, and handle more than 10 million API calls every day.

Unlike most of our competitors, our focus is solely on embedded finance. It’s our bread and butter, not a side hustle. That’s important, because banking and lending are tough to get right, and mistakes are costly.

To help you separate signal from noise, here are a few of the main reasons tech companies choose Unit over competitors: 

  • Simple to launch. Unit is the simplest way for software companies to launch embedded banking and lending. With our White-Label App, you can go live without writing any code.
  • Complete product. We’re the only platform that offers a complete set of embedded banking and lending products. You’ll be able to quickly launch the modern money experiences your customers expect. 
  • Experienced leadership. Our team of experts provides enterprise-level partnership across all aspects of your program. You'll get one-on-one support and expert assistance to help you launch quickly and scale easily.
  • 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.
  • Trusted by leading brands. Nearly 200 companies—from startups to enterprises and publicly traded companies—trust Unit as their embedded finance partner. 

Onboarding case study: Baselane

Baselane is a platform that helps landlords manage their business finances. 

For many landlords, managing rental-property finances can be daunting. It’s common for landlords to stitch together at least four or five different tools just to manage their finances. As a result, it can be difficult to understand their cash flow or even know how they’re doing.

Unit provides all of the necessary technology to launch and scale embedded finance—accelerating time to market.

To streamline financial management for landlords, Baselane needed to ground their platform in a system of well-organized business bank accounts. At the same time, they wanted to go to market quickly while understanding and meeting their compliance needs.

That’s why they chose Unit. Unit provides all of the necessary technology to launch and scale embedded finance—accelerating their time to market without requiring a heavy investment of engineering resources.

“We spoke to five different embedded finance providers,” recalls Korder. “Unit was the only one that could build what we needed and launch on our timeline.”

What does success after launch look like?

Launching embedded financial products is a big milestone—but the journey doesn’t end there.

In coming weeks and months, you’ll need to ensure that customers are using the products as intended. You may also want to make changes or explore launching additional products.

Here are some things we’ll prioritize to ensure your success after launch:

  • Go-to-market strategy. We’ve helped many leading tech companies scale their embedded-finance programs. As you craft your go-to-market strategy, we’re here to share best practices and insights.
  • Integrations. Which software tools do your customers use to manage their money? Chances are, we already offer an integration. With Unit, you can quickly and easily integrate with platforms like QuickBooks, Plaid, Intuit, Astra, AllPoint, and AWS Data—just to name a few.
  • Ongoing compliance support. After go-live, we’ll work closely with you and your bank partner to ensure industry-leading compliance. We’ll help with things like KYB/KYC, manual account reviews, and disputes. In addition, we’ll work with you to provide assistance and guidance on crafting compliant marketing messaging and customer communications. 
  • Explore new products. Software companies typically go live with a foundational set of financial products. From there, they iterate and add new products. We’re excited to guide you through the process when that day comes.

Ready to onboard with Unit? We’d love to talk and help you create your launch plan. You can also check out our sandbox and build in minutes

Originally published:

April 29, 2024

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