Impactful Innovation in Fintech — How Rize On-boards its Clients
Fintech is not immune to the tendency of naysayers during downturns to scream from the mountaintops that the sky is falling. While markets are in a wait-and-see mode with respect to some of the largest fintechs out there, new troubles are hitting emerging players because of pullback from several Bank Sponsors. Unsurprisingly, many Sponsors are re-examining how they onboard fintech programs amidst decidedly stepped-up regulatory scrutiny in recent months, and during these audits, it’s becoming clear that not everyone has been paying as much attention as they should to building compliance scalably. “Move fast and break things” simply doesn’t work in financial services, and consequently a number of fintech builders have been burned — unable to launch or left in a holding pattern, often without any warning or communication. For such builders, these challenges and delays can mean the difference between success and failure, and this lack of transparency is incredibly frustrating.
Rize has spent the better part of the last 18 months over-investing in its on-boarding and compliance processes; while we always knew we were bringing thoughtful innovation to on-boarding, we had not anticipated just how strong our processes were until these recent hiccups in bank-land. The result is a phased, tier-based approach to onboarding that represents one of our biggest value-adds for clients. In tandem with a select group of custodial partners, we’ve worked to optimize for the balance between the urgency of builders to get their product live and the management of the ensuing risk. Our commitment is to be transparent, organized, and responsive throughout, allowing our clients to concentrate on what they do best: customer acquisition and building best-in-class financial products.
The below illustrates our onboarding process at a high level — we are fully open for business for builders looking to incorporate banking, brokerage, and other tools into their offering:
Rize Now allows clients to immediately start building their fintech application. As soon as they sign up, builders will be able to use our API to test their application with real funds. Ten employees at the business will be able to open accounts, initiate transactions, and receive physical cards.
We built Rize Now to enable clients to start testing their product on day one, before we finish our due diligence process and use-case specific technical configurations. Everything built in Rize Now exists on a Rize program, with all reserve and operating accounts maintained by Rize. After bank pre-qualification, clients will be able to begin building against their own program during the Alpha phase of our onboarding process.
Before we begin our formal onboarding, our product and compliance teams will check in with clients to validate any technical discussions our business team may have initiated during the sales process. Really, we are attempting to validate two questions before the client and Rize begin investing significantly more time and resources building together:
- Can we meet their technical requirements?
- Can we reasonably assume our client can meet our custodial partners’ compliance requirements?
During the Pre-Qualification Phase, we will initiate deeper conversations about product funds flows and compliance requirements with our integration and compliance teams. Our goal will be to get the business pre-qualified by our bank as soon as possible. We will align on functional requirements, collect Initial Due Diligence, and align on our Program and MSA agreements.
While clients begin building against their product program, we will dive deeper into Operational Due Diligence (ODD) and prepare them for their presentation with the Bank Sponsor. ODD is a lengthy but critically important process, and we promise to be prompt, thorough, and consistent.
During this stage, we will also collect and approve policies, disclosures, and ancillary agreements, aggregate account opening documents, and familiarize our clients with our Compliance Hub, all of which is done with the complete support of our team.
The presentation to the Bank Sponsor is a critical moment both in the onboarding process and the life of the client’s company. Ultimately, the Sponsor has the final say in whether the client can open unrestricted bank accounts and move forward with a real-money fintech product. During the Material Review Phase of our onboarding process, we will finalize all compliance document updates and revisions in preparation for the full approval of the program.
During the Beta Phase clients will launch their product to up to a limited number of customers. The product will operate with the final transaction limits agreed to in our program agreement, and we will initiate real money transaction sampling and high-touch KYC coaching.
The Beta Launch is the beginning of the real customer go-to-market. During the Beta Launch, we will continue to test the product to ensure the business has a healthy launch at scale, free of avoidable bugs and risks. Our marketing team will also be in touch with the client’s business team to facilitate joint marketing for the upcoming full launch across PR, blogs, newsletters, events, and speaking engagements.
General Availability is just what it sounds like: the full, final, unrestricted launch of the new product! We will finalize the launch configuration ahead of the scheduled date. The client will also be able to access an expanded range of physical card options.
Perhaps more importantly, as the business scales, we will continue to provide regular, hands-on support. Some months we will work quietly in the background to monitor the technical configuration; other months we will work closely with a client’s legal team to approve a new program or with your development team to implement a new feature in your product. Any changes to the program will ultimately require bank approval.
After the product goes live, our Marketing team will also be back in touch to collect data points for case studies, as well as mutual marketing testimonials.
In a world where founders typically only get one shot and can’t afford any delays, Rize has done the leg work with our partners across the stack to ensure there are no surprises. Want to see for yourself? To learn more contact us.