In recent years, there has been an emerging trend towards instantly issuing and personalizing financial payment cards at the branch or retail location, providing an alternative to the traditional central issuance distribution model.

According to the 2010 Debit Issuer Study sponsored by Discover Financial Services Pulse electronic funds transfer network, “Instant issuance is growing sharply. Banks and other issuers said they are increasingly handing out debit cards in the branch as they sign up new customers, to facilitate immediate use and to eliminate the expense of having to replace cards lost or stolen in the mail. And, 35 percent of debit-card issuers offered instant issuance in 2009, up from 28 percent in 2008. Those considering it jumped to 36 percent, from 26 percent, in the same time period.

What does this mean for the industry?

It means that financial institutions are recognizing that instant issuance gives them the ability to retain and grow core deposits through improved service and convenience, eliminates current issuance costs, and increases activation, early and long-term usage and top of mind/wallet brand recognition.

By offering instant issuance, consumers can receive high-quality, personalized, ready-to-use permanent cards at the opening of an account-instead of having to wait days or weeks while their cards are produced and mailed-making immediate purchases simple and convenient. Additionally, for customers who have misplaced their cards or fallen victim to theft, instant issuance provides an immediate solution without having to wait days or weeks for a replacement.

These, among many other added benefits, are just a few of the reasons why financial institutions implement instant issuance. Continued consumer trends toward instant gratification, non-cash payment methods and customization mean that instant issuance is here to stay. It is difficult for financial institutions to invest in anything right now that does not show a measurable increase in cost savings and customer satisfaction. Fortunately, instant issuance delivers on all counts.

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