Today, the legacy business models and go-to-market strategies previously adopted by financial institutions have been lost in response to changing consumer behavior and engagement and changing regulatory requirements. Acquiring new profitable customers and retaining them has become more challenging than ever before as customer loyalty is diminished.  Today’s consumers want their financial institution to offer services that align with their lifestyle, including engaging communications, instant service or response, multiple options and convenience. This forces organizations to constantly re-evaluate and re-vamp their existing standard operational procedures.

According to a research report from Euromonitor International, annual debit card payments have continued to increase by double-digits in India which will continue to be a debit card market with 90%+ card circulation within the overall card portfolio. This growth indicates a dramatic decline in the use of cash and checks as consumers embrace more card-based payment methods for online and POS transactions.

With the Government and the Reserve Bank of India pushing for the growth and acceptance of electronic transactions, in order to decrease the cash transactions in the country, these electronic transactions will help to drive the growth of debit cards in India over the foreseeable period. With this increased focus on debit cards, it is critical for financial institutions to implement a business model that differentiates them from the competition, and one way to do this is through a digital branch concept.  This has become the future focus for many institutions to stand out from others by incorporating innovative strategies and advanced technologies, like instant issuance of payment cards, into their card programs.

Currently, financial institutions are not only implementing instant issuance systems globally, but they are intensely marketing the new capability and branch banking transformation.  An example of a bank that just implemented a new innovative digital banking experience with the Datacard® instant issuance solution is State Bank of India.

State Bank of India, the largest public sector bank in India, is recognized for innovative banking technology. With the vision of “Next Generation Banking with a Difference” SBI has launched a new kiosk-based digital banking initiative—sbiINTOUCH—along with a debit card instant issuance and personalisation solution.

The sbiINTOUCH digital branches issue personalized debit cards instantly using Datacard® CE870 instant issuance systems and Datacard® Cardwizard® issuance software over the kiosk. This is the first project of its kind in the region, where a customer will get a debit card in just 10 minutes after the account opening process. The customer can then use their card right away, which creates opportunities for SBI to increase their activation rates and interchange revenue – the sooner the card is used, the faster financial institutions can benefit from an immediate return on their investment. In addition, an instant issuance model helps with the overall experience their customer receives, which improves overall satisfaction levels and customer engagement.

State Bank of India opened its first set of seven outlets immersed with digital capabilities in prime business districts and shopping malls in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

The sbiINTOUCH outlets appeal to India’s burgeoning millennial population. The technology-savvy customers are attracted to the efficient, self-service nature of these outlets, in which they will manage the majority of their business on their own while SBI staff focuses on more value-added advisory transactions. In the future, the bank plans to scale up the number of digital branches and aims to take it to several locations across the country. “INTOUCH is the start of SBI’s digital journey,” said S K Mishra, deputy managing director, State Bank of India. “This is our attempt to put our brand SBI in touch with the dreams of the aspirational customer. It is a deep rooted transformation that has three aspects: a transformation of the customer experience we deliver; introduction of device centric technology that is at the forefront of our global peers; and transformation of the behavioral model of our staff-base to be even more customer centric.”

Along with personalized card issuance through their new kiosk’s, SBI’s Digital Stores also offer instant loan approval and an interactive dream wall to aid customers in conceptualizing their journey toward realizing their financial dreams.

This is just one example of how banks across the globe are transforming this customer experience.  Many financial organizations are transitioning to an “omnichannel” strategy, which incorporates instant issuance as a complement to their traditional, centralized card issuance model.  They can simply integrate instant issuance into their existing infrastructure to launch digitization of services without making a large investment of money or resources. By offering this model and giving consumers options such as instant issuance, financial institutions have a great opportunity to transform the branch into a service-driven place that can really impress customers – which in turn will help improve customer loyalty, profitability and strong operational efficiency.

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