Helix by Q2 provides highly flexible banking as a service (BaaS) to fintech firms that have developed innovative services and have then decided to offer a tailored banking component too.
Helix customers include clients such as Acorns, Betterment, Credit Karma, Empower, Gusto and M1.
“Our whole focus is how we help those companies build unique products inside what they are already doing,” said Ahon Sarkar, GM of Helix by Q2. “They are solving different problems for different demographics, and we’re going from one-size-fits-all to differentiated products built around people.”
Products that Helix by Q2 can offer include the building blocks of banking
— accounts, cards, payments, data and controls, admin tools, and monetization solutions
— to make it easy to embed personalized financial experiences.
For example, Gusto realized that the
#1 problem many employees faced was cash flow management and the #2 problem was building savings,
so they worked with Helix and launched Gusto Wallet — a way for employees to draw from their next paycheck for free instead of having to pay exorbitant interests to payday lenders.
Gusto also launched an emergency savings product to help their customers build savings,
something many users accomplished for the first time.
Helix Enables Banking
Betterment, a pioneer robo advisor, (or digital wealth advisor in their
marketing speak), helps users create and maintain portfolios through its automated investing platforms.
When customers wanted a way to spend cash
that was in their Betterment account and to optimize the yield on the cash that they weren’t going to spend,
Betterment partnered with Helix to launch a checking account alongside automated sweep functionality.
The checking account and debit card are provided through nbkc bank,
originally National Bank of Kansas City,
which is a member FDIC and both a local bricks and mortar bank and a national online bank.
Helix got its start about 10 years ago as Smartypig a goal-based savings product,
said Sarkar with a very light-weight banking core.
It rebranded as Social Money and
then got bought by Q2 which calls itself a leading provider of digital transformation solutions for banking and lending.
A Service For Fintechs
“Then we [at Helix] realized this core was more interesting than the products we built on top of it. We started focusing on personalization.
Everyone [in banking] was doing this one size fits all and we realized through
our partnerships with fintechs that if you can actually personalize the product to each user and give them a progression,
you see greater retention.”
They started with payments, then goal-based savings, investing, financial management with Credit Karma and wealth management with Betterment.
“Now we will see folks in lending, insurance, marketplaces and gaming —concentric circles of adoption,” said Sarkar.
“People are willing to adopt a brand new technology they have never seen before if someone in an adjacent industry has shown success with it and they can figure out how to apply it.”