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Instant purchasing power should push faster card access

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Adopting instant issuance can positively impact a bank or credit union’s business in a number of ways. The benefits are generally straightforward for cardholders: they can visit a branch and walk out with a new or replacement debit or credit card in hand, on the spot. For financial institutions, the advantages of the technology can be a more far-reaching.

With traditional card issuance, cardholders wait to receive their card in the mail and take additional steps to complete activation. Issuing a new or replacement card onsite is more efficient. Frontline staff providing customers with instantly issued ready-to-use cards can focus on customer engagement and core productivity, rather than devoting time and resources to a traditional card-order process. This leads to a better experience for both staff and cardholders, more efficient operations and the financial benefits possible through efficiency.

Offering a high level of customer experience is critical to a branch’s business. Instant issuance allows financial institutions to meet the "I want it now" expectations of today’s consumers. The appeal of such instant gratification can drive both customer acquisition and retention. When a cardholder needs a replacement card, the technology can be even more impactful. Dealing with the inconvenience and disruptiveness of being without a card can be minimized in a visit to a local branch – customers or members can get back to their day after picking up an instantly issued replacement card. By seamlessly accommodating cardholders, financial institutions can strengthen customer loyalty and grow their customer or member base.
Contactless convenience adds another wave of benefits for instant issuance. U.S. contactless card shipments are expected to hit 173.5 million in 2021 – a huge jump from the 25.7 million shipped in 2016. Financial institutions working through a SaaS-based instant issuance provider can offer dual interface EMV cards in the same immediate, efficient fashion. Dual interface cards enable both contact and contactless transactions. The advantage of being able to instantly issue dual interface cards is two-fold for issuers. First, the appeal to consumers alone can be an edge over competitors. Additionally, contactless cards often enjoy top-of-wallet status, particularly for smaller transactions.

Granting immediate purchasing power to cardholders through instant issuance also grows interchange revenue potential. Minimizing the gap – between a cardholder’s need for a card and delivery of a ready-to-use card to make purchases – can be a significant financial advantage. Instant issuance delivers a positive impact on debit activation rates with 4% to 10% increases, depending on the branch and member demographics. An average increase of 21% has been seen in monthly debit purchase transactions among issuers’ debit card programs, depending on the mix of new and existing cardholders receiving a new card.

The most obvious benefit of instant issuance may be mail-related cost savings. Providing customers or members cards onsite at a branch, instead of via mail, can yield savings of over $1 per card. Over time, the cost-savings of using instant issuance – rather than being limited to mailing cards – can be substantial. Furthermore, avoiding the costs associated with occasional mail delays or security risks around card interception is an added benefit.

The appeal of instant issuance focuses on the convenience for new or existing cardholders, but its value is also revealed in the positive ripple effect it can create within a financial institution. As branches with the technology know, instant issuance is more than just a nice feature for customers – it can be an opportunity for success and growth.

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