‘Partners in the driver’s seat’: How Green Dot is differentiating its platform offerings


As large tech and retail brands like Uber, Stash and Walmart roll out banking products, Green Dot is the bank partner, quietly operating in the background.

To Green Dot, its platform business is a major growth driver, allowing partners to add banking as a form of transactional glue that engenders loyalty and continued customer acquisition. A crowded field of challenger banks means brands needs to differentiate, and Green Dot’s mission is to work with product developers to help them realize their ambitions.

“One analogy you might use is if you want to go and build a fancy car, you can do it on your own and it might look beautiful, but it might not work so well,” said Dov Marmor, head of banking-as-a-service at Green Dot, at the Tearsheet Embedded Conference in New York on Tuesday. “If you’re an enterprise brand [like Green Dot], there’s a level of trust, and having our own bank is huge.”

With Green Dot acting as a trusted adviser, it aims to put the client’s vision at the forefront. “Our partners are in the driver’s seat — they design the vision,” noted Marmor. “We have to take that and make it safe for the consumer and approved by the regulators, and you can scale from zero to 100 in a very short period of time.”

The process, according to Green Dot, involves each brand outlining all requirements that underline the product vision. In turn, Green Dot reps act as “professors,” offering a challenge function for brands to ensure all product design elements integrate properly to serve consumers’ interests.

See also: Green Dot seeks to stem the bleeding caused by new digital-only banks with Unlimited

As part of the product development path, Green Dot takes apart each step of the user experience and onboarding journey to ensure all possible scenarios are considered.

“Where is the registration process going to live within the rest of your ecosystem? What is the messaging going to be [like]? How are you going to make sure that when [customers] get that card in the mail, they’re going to know what it is?” said Marmor. Large retailers and upstart tech brands obsess about every element of the product experience and onboarding process, positioning them well to push forward new innovations in financial services.

While Green Dot has been working with brands for decades, the company faces competition from other platform providers — both banks as well as tech companies. Asked what sets Green Dot apart, the company emphasized that multiple layers of expertise at a brand’s fingertips allow it to offer a compelling brand proposition.

“It’s the most vertically integrated offering under one roof,” said Marmor. “Different players out there and have different components in that ecosystem. You might have the API layer, others are sponsor banks and lending their license, [some do] a credit card which is your brand on everything, but you have to look at all different components under one roof.”

Founded in 1999, Green Dot provides a wide range of financial services products, including deposit account programs, network-branded reloadable prepaid debit cards, consumer and small business checking accounts, and network-branded gift cards. It has a market capitalization of about $1.27 billion.

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