The numerous recent retailer data breaches have led issuers to realize that they may have to replace most of their cards with little or no warning.

For BankPlus, a $2.4 billion-asset institution based in Belzoni, Miss., new instant issuance technology is providing some peace of mind. 

"We have had very little impact from the Target breach, so we have been just monitoring the situation at this time," says Janice Smith, vice president and information security officer for BankPlus. "But if we had to replace our cards, we'd be able to replace them quickly."

BankPlus uses data automation software called Foxtrot to handle customer and account data conversion for a variety of purposes, such as onboarding new customers from an acquisition, as well as adding speed to instant card issuance.

Foxtrot, which was developed by EnableSoft, automatically performs data entry and other tasks that are normally handled manually by employees. The software emulates key presses and mouse clicks to navigate an application's interface, working like a person, but faster.

For card issuance, branch personnel now simply click on an icon to move customers' data from the bank's FIS core processing application to its Datacard instant issuance card platform. This shaves about four minutes from the traditional five minutes it took to instantly issue debit cards.

While the full impact of the Target breach is still unclear, a large number of banks of all sizes have had to reissue cards because of concern over exposure. JPMorgan Chase alone had to reissue 2 million cards, but its Chase Merchant Services unit has developed technology to ease the pain in the future by enabling fast access to a new account through the Chase Wallet app.

BankPlus did not reissue cards in response to the Target breach, but it was affected by the breach at Heartland Payment Systems several years ago.  After that experience, "we've streamlined the process to reduce the human error that was involved in copying and pasting card information to reissue cards," Smith says.

When a consumer's card is implicated in a data breach, 43% use the replacement card less than they used the original, says Julie Conroy, a senior analyst at Aite Group. "One way to avoid being sent to the back of the wallet is to quickly get the new credit card in the consumer's hands as fast as possible," she says.

The risk or lost spending is not as great for debit cards, but the consumer benefits from having cards quickly reissued, Conroy says.

BankPlus also sees instant issuance technology as a customer service play and a way to increase visibility of the card at the point of issuance.

"If the customers can come into a bank and get a card right after they open an account and use the debit card right away, that's better than them getting [it] in the mail. We're handing it right to the customer," says Smith, adding the bank is also developing the ability to instantly issue EMV-chip cards, a move that comes with challenges related to as personalization, printing and security.

"We'll have to do an upgrade, but we're looking at doing the same type of instant issue process for EMV cards," Smith says.

BankPlus was rated the #25 Best Bank to Work For with under $3 billion in assets last year by American Banker Magazine, a sister publication to PaymentsSource.

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