Sequoia-Backed Financial-Aid Startup Mos Debuts New Debit Card

Mos, a student financial-aid startup backed by investors including Sequoia Capital and rap star Jay-Z, is venturing into banking. 

The company, founded by Tunisian-born human-rights activist Amira Yahyaoui, is debuting a debit card and banking app, it said Wednesday. Blue Ridge Bankshares Inc.’s Blue Ridge Bank is partnering with Mos for the new offering. 

Mos, an almost three-year-old firm, helps students navigate financial-aid applications, a service that it will now offer for free to individuals who sign up for its bank-account products. Mos will offer accounts to individuals younger than 18 years old as well as those with U.S. residency to help international students, according to Yahyaoui.

“It’s a bank that helps them with financial aid,” she said in an interview. “We will be growing up with the people we serve today and we’ll have products in the future that are not only for students.” 

Yahyaoui started Mos after spending years as a human-rights activist. She was banned from her home country when she was 17, and later helped build non-governmental organization Al Bawsala. She also was co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Davos conference in 2016 alongside people including Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra.

The Mos debit card won’t have any overdraft or late fees, and the San Francisco-based company will make money mostly from interchange fees, Yahyaoui said. 

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