Instant Issue Debit Card Solutions: Buyer's Guide

Instant issue debit card vendors

According to a report from Aite published in June 2017 on the state of instant issuance in the US, there’s good news for credit unions and community banks:

The cost of instant issue debit card solutions has gone down in the last decade and printer quality has gotten better. As more issuers recognize the value of instant issuance, the service has also become mainstream (no longer a nice-to-have).

Instant issuance can be a powerful vehicle for acheiving goals like new client acquisition, increasing client revenue, and improving engagement. It helps get debit cards into clients’ hands the very same day, boosting card activation and usage (and ultimately interchange), while increasing cardholder satisfaction.

That’s really important:

Because, with EMV you are paying more for each card you issue.

But there’s more:

As word of mouth spreads that customers can open accounts and get their new cards immediately, you’ll start attracting more and more new customers. Today we want to help you choose an instant issue debit card solution that’s right for you.

What to look for in an instant issue debit card solution

Instant issue debit card solutions put you in complete control of card delivery, which means you can give your clients their cards faster than you could with central issuance. There’s also cost savings involved, for example on postage and emergency card replacements.

Here are five aspects to keep in mind when evaluating instant issue solutions, to ensure you get the highest return on your investment.

1. Printer Options and Design Flexibility

Just because you’re printing locally, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the way your card looks. Especially if instant issuance is going to start accounting for a sizeable chunk of your new cards.

Look for a partner that has the printer options you’d need, whether it’s direct-to-card, retransfer or embossing.

Pro tip:

If you’re using a pre-printed card, a direct-to-card printer is your best option in terms of equipment cost and ongoing costs.

Shoreline instant issuance debit card printer

However, for printing a full image, we recommend a retransfer printer; direct-to-card might leave a small white edge visible or a small area around the chip unprinted.

2. Ease of Maintenance

With an instant issue solution, you’ll be responsible for loading card stock into the printer. For security purposes, instant issuance solutions have dual control, which means two designated individuals must authorize access to the printer to load cards.

For utmost flexibility, you may want to look into solutions that allow remote dual control, which means the second party does not need to be present physically. Rather, they could be at a different branch or off-site and still authorize the access from their remote location.

3. Infrastructure Investment

There are two flavors of instant issue technology – Local (on premise) and SaaS (Software as a Service).

With Local instant issue solutions, the printers, servers and software are installed at the bank by your partner. Once installed, the day-to-day operation and maintenance is managed by your IT staff. This option may appeal to a bank that has an established and competent IT department and a preference for internally managed solutions.

SaaS instant issue means that although the printers are installed locally, the software is provided as a service and operated and maintained by your partner from its data center. SaaS has the advantage of a faster setup, upfront cost, lower total cost of ownership, and minimal staff training. The IT overhead is also minimal – basically setting up the VPN tunnel.

If you’re curious, click here for an explanation of how SaaS instant issuance works

Don’t forget:

Always look for PCI compliant debit card printers and PCI and association certified data centers if you’re going for Cloud.

And these are the 3 things you’ll need to do to achieve association compliance:

  1. Set up the printer away from customer access
  2. Place the printer in view of a surveillance camera
  3. Lock down the printer

4. EMV Support

If you still issue mag stripe cards, but are starting to migrate to EMV, you’ll want an instant issue solution that supports EMV cards. Fortunately, an EMV-ready printer will issue both mag and EMV, with EMV cards personalized through the chip interface.

What about contactless (dual interface) EMV cards?

All EMV-ready debit card printers support contactless, and they too are personalized through their chip interface.

If you want to deploy instant issue for EMV fast, look for card vendors that are pre-CPV certified. This will save you time and money (up to a few thousand dollars).

Remember this:

The card stock you use for EMV instant issue will be different than that used for central issuance. They each have their own unique key on the EMV chip.

5. Fee Structure

When first installing the instant issuance solution, expect to pay a fee for the setup as well as an ongoing maintenance fee.
Every partner has a different charging model for the card issuance itself. Some charge a flat monthly fee, while others charge a unitary fee per printed card.

Two more things:

Regardless of your preference, always pay attention to what’s included in the price and when you may be charged additional fees. For example, check if fees vary for graphic and non-graphic cards, EMV vs. mag stripe, etc.

As instant issue debit card printers support both pre-printed cards and white cards, also check if your vendor poses any limitations in terms of the number of gallery images you can print on demand.

Choosing a instant issue debit card vendor

Instant issue is one more way banking is becoming more immediate, responsive and digital. It speaks to customers’ expectations for minimal friction in any service context.

As branch operations become increasingly powered by software and technology, look for areas where instant issue meets other banking services and find ways to create an end-to-end experiences that delight customers. For example, combine instant issue with frictionless identity verification and card design personalization.

Have questions about instant issue debit card solutions? Contact Shoreline sales or read more here.

The original post published on January 15, 2017 was last updated August 31, 2017.

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