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PayThink

Too many instant issuance programs focus on printing over software

Instant issuance of credit or debit cards has gained incredible momentum in the industry as a way to help banks and credit unions meet consumer expectations, drive additional revenue, ensure a high level of customer satisfaction, and keep up with the market pace.

Just like any technology, the adoption curve for instant issuance is reaching a point where there have been thousands of implementations—or early adopters—that have helped shape future programs that come after them.

Many financial institutions growing their programs today, or those that may be just implementing them for the first time, can learn from instant issuance programs that have evolved over the last several years.
Typically, a full instant issuance program consists of software, hardware, services and support. While it’s true that all these elements are important for an instant issuance program to be successful, the reality is that over the years, software has surfaced as one of the most critical factors for a financial institution’s success in implementing and rolling out an effective program.

Many times, financial institutions are told to focus on the hardware and the printing behind what is used to instantly issue cards— including direct-to-card and retransfer printing and/or embossing. The printers that are on the market today have no doubt come a long way for ensuring high-quality instant issue of payment cards, including the ability to personalize various images, but many can do very similar things.

While financial institutions should take note of the various hardware and printing capabilities offered—after all, financial institutions want their instantly issued cards to last to their expiration date—the software is the secret sauce that makes the complete instant issuance program work. However, not all instant issuance software is created equal, which is why there are key questions that financial institutions should ask when determining which instant issuance program to implement.

Is it simple to deploy, update and maintain? It is important to understand how the software will run on a network, including whether it will be browser-based or run on individual PCs. If it is browser-based and can have unlimited users, this is ideal. This way, no additional client software will be required, and software enhancements/updates can be automatically updated. Additionally, the latest software version is always on your network.

Does the software have true integration to streamline card issuance processes? Seamlessness and integration are critical elements of an instant issuance program, however, not all instant issuance providers offer this. Having true integration into core and transaction processing networks enables optimized card production and activation. Instant issuance software that can truly integrate into core systems and transaction networks means there is no need for multiple software applications for the issuer— they can do it all in one spot to create the card record and update it in real time on the network. This includes the ability to evaluate the cardholder relationship, issue and produce the card, block the card and/or replace it, and more —all done from just one application.

Will my branch staff easily understand the software? There can be quite a bit of turnover at financial institutions— it’s simply the nature of the business. Having staff and tellers consistently change can be difficult for training purposes. Software that is very simple to use, requires a limited number of steps and is intuitive to those who are setting up accounts is extremely important.

How is the software secure on my network? All software applications that financial institutions implement should have strong security and compliance, but make sure that you ask the question of how it is deployed. Software that can safely run within the financial institution’s existing firewall helps make the implementation of instant issuance programs much less cumbersome and easier to deploy.

What kind of reporting and administrative capabilities does it have? Reporting and administrative capabilities for instant issuance software is highly important. Ensure that the software has inventory management, history tracking and audit trails, and other automated reports that the financial institution may require.

Implementing an instant issuance program is a large investment and a long-term commitment. Make sure to protect that investment by first choosing the right software.

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