The recent large credit and debit card data breaches have undoubtedly strained the daily card production operations of many banks, bureaus and other large card issuers and shine a bright light on two key concerns. The first concern, of course, is prevention. The second concern centers on the replacement of both cards and trust across a cardholder base. Getting high-quality cards into the hands of customers quickly helps strengthen the issuers’ brand and positions them as responsive and customer-centric.

In the days following a significant breach in late 2013, thousands of impacted consumers calling to request emergency card replacements (ECRs) created a tremendous back log. Central issuance operations were running at their maximum capacity, producing 2-3 times their normal volume. With such a significant back log, getting replacement cards into customer’s hands quickly proved to be challenging.

In today’s world, consumers want instant satisfaction and top-notch customer service, especially from their financial institution. According to a study conducted by Aite Group, consumers who are dissatisfied with how they are treated by their financial institution after experiencing fraud are more likely to change providers, resulting in a global attrition rate of 23%. As the dust settles from these breaches, financial card issuers are left wondering how they can improve their overall customer experience, retain their customer base and deliver added value in this instant society. There are several strategies that financial issuers can implement to meet the demands of their customers.

Instant Issuance

Complementing central issuance operations with instant issuance of permanent credit or debit cards gives consumers ultimate flexibility. With instant issuance, customers have the ability to walk into a local branch, receive a fully personalized permanent replacement card within minutes and immediately use it to make purchases or ATM withdrawals. This gives customers the power to choose – they can take action right away and get their card instantly or wait 5-7 days for their new card to arrive in the mail.

Implementing a mixed model of instant and central issuance not only enables a better customer experience, it can help alleviate the strain that large data breaches put on central issuance facilities as well as the financial institution’s call centers. The benefits don’t stop there – instant issuance can also provide a positive return on investment, especially for small batch and ECR issuance. Instant issuance eliminates costs associated with small batch production, postage and rush or overnight delivery fees.

Data Security

While adding instant capabilities to an issuance ecosystem adds new “endpoints,” the data security requirements are mostly policy and process-oriented. The same technologies and processes used for protecting cardholder data and financial credentials in a central issuance environment are simply extended to the broader instant issuance network.

One must also not forget the importance of the underlying security architecture that must be in place to protect every transaction, every connection and to ultimately protect every end user and device’s identity when consumers or bank employees are accessing the network. It is critical that this security be completely hidden to the end user. Making the security architecture as seamless as possible while never compromising the integrity of cardholder data – from all users’ perspectives – is the ultimate goal.

Card Vault Management

For central issuance operations, personalizing and delivering replacement cards quickly cannot take place if the right cardstock isn’t available in the right place and at the right time. There are two main methods to ensuring cardstock availability. The first is utilizing core operations software with predictive vault management capabilities, which will alert issuers ahead of time when cardstock needs to be replenished.

The second is on-demand printing technology that allows issuers to keep more generic cardstock in their vaults, then use on-demand printing to create specific card types. Millions of dollars are wasted every year producing and storing cardstock that is not needed because of overruns or retired card designs. The data breach threat only accentuates this problem.

Card Delivery & Customer Communication

A data breach clearly creates a need to communicate with customers. Issuers need to explain how they are protecting customer data, what they are doing to ensure product continuity and how customers can get answers to their questions. From a central issuance perspective, much of this highly targeted, one-to-one communication can be accomplished with new card delivery systems.

Customized card carriers — in various sizes and in full color — can be printed as part of the inline issuance process. The same data that drives card personalization drives the custom form printing process. Advanced card delivery systems can also be used to deliver promotional messages or required information, such as terms and conditions.

Not only does an inline card delivery solution enhance customer communication, it also decreases the risk of human error and maximizes production efficiencies by allowing operators to create completely finished mail-packages in one automated step. This saves precious time when central issuance operations are running at full capacity.

Bringing it All Together

Large data breaches are challenging for everyone involved and can affect thousands of people. When breaches happen, it is critical to restore customer’s confidence and trust. Financial organizations can meet customer demands and turn an unfortunate situation into a positive customer experience by complementing instant issuance with central issuance and integrating robust software and card delivery solutions into their daily operations.

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