Launching a Modern Card Program: Four Steps to Ensure You Have the Right Partner
The payments landscape is changing, with digital driving the customer experience. In fact, Juniper Research recently predicted that the number of payment cards issued via digital platforms will rise to 1.3 billion by 2027, up 170% from the 500 million expected by the close of 2023. The firm sums up this evolution in one key statement, “Issuers should look to design superior user experiences, leveraging the capabilities that digital card issuing platforms can provide.”
With such an emphasis on digital-first cards, financial institutions (FIs) who offer consumer or business credit card programs for their customers or members need to identify ways to create a competitive advantage. By providing a sought-after, modern card program, FIs can capitalize on their card offering as a differentiator.
But a card program is only as successful as the strategic partnerships that advance execution. And with the fate of the program in the hands of a third party, it’s critical for FIs to identify a partner who not only can meet their digital-first needs today but anticipate what may be required in the future.
Fortunately, there are four key steps an FI can take to ensure they’re selecting a strong partner in evolving or launching a modern credit card program:
- Identify the “must-haves” for your institution and only entertain proposals from the providers who meet those needs. In short, ensure you have a partner that can address both customer/member demand and internal requirements. For example, consider how your card will enable customer/member-facing needs like mobile-first development, fraud prevention, customizable rewards, account management tools, and an overall superior cardholder experience. Then add those requirements to your internal essentials, including advanced underwriting tools, instant provisioning, industry compliance, built-in security, and dispute resolution and collections functionality. A strong partner should meet and exceed your expectations in these areas with a digital-first approach.
- Look for a partner that can offer customized solutions. FIs should take this as an opportunity to research emerging offerings in the credit card space and what new functionality is offered that rises to your unique wish lists. You want to focus on companies that tout digital-first offerings and configurable platforms, not one-size-fits-all solutions. In today’s high-demand environment, you need a modern card program tailored to your unique needs for both now and the future. Find a provider who can address today’s priorities and continuously support program enhancements.
- Ask for case studies and client references. You likely already do this as part of your vendor due diligence program, but when selecting a credit card program partner, be sure to ask not just FI-specific questions but those that your customers or members will have as well. In addition, query your peers about who they’ve worked with for their card program, why they chose that provider, the provider’s response to emerging digital needs, and how the relationship has evolved. Those who’ve already been down this road will have insights into what to look for and what should raise red flags.
- Select a partner, not a provider. Perhaps most important, make sure to choose a partner who aligns with your FI’s culture, understands its business, and provides the experience that will ‘wow’ current and future customers or members. Consider how this partner will evolve with today’s increasingly demanding, frictionless, and digital-first environment.
Who you choose as a modern card program partner will impact how quickly and efficiently you can augment or launch your program, and ultimately, drive both new revenue opportunities and customer/member satisfaction. With so much on the line, taking time to pinpoint the right partner is a solid business decision for any institution.