Instant Issue Increases Usage, Interchange & Member Satisfaction

Instant Issue Increases Usage, Interchange & Member Satisfaction
Posted: Oct 26, 2016
Comments: 0
Author: Shana Baert

Why make your members wait for their new or replacement cards?

Traditional card issuance involved a credit union requesting a new card from their processor when a member opens a new account, or reports a lost or stolen card. The processor then personalizes a card and mails it, getting a new card in the hands of the member, on average, 8-10 days after opening the account. But instant issuance, the ability to provide an activated card in-branch is a game changer, both for greater member satisfaction, and increased card usage.

According to Aite, instant issuance adds 8 incremental transactions in the first month, then an average 5 incremental transactions per month, due to higher member satisfaction.  This results in a possible incremental transaction volume list of $2340 annually. By receiving a working card immediately, a cardholder can start to use the new card (or replacement card) as soon as they walk out of the branch, resulting in the initial 8-10 transactions which would not have taken place while waiting the 8-10 days to get the card in the mail. In addition, the positive experience resulting from the in-branch experience makes it more likely that the card moves to the coveted top-of-wallet position. And since the card number can immediate be entered into the many online accounts, mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, digital wallets such as Visa Checkout, Amazon, PayPal, Venmo, then that card will continue to see increased transactions throughout its lifecycle. FIs adopting the instant issuance experience typically see 50 percent growth in purchase volumes, with a 34 percent boost in transactions, when measured against FIs that do not offer instant issuance.

Instant issue has other benefits

Frequently when a member’s card is compromised, a re-issue is “rushed”, incurring fees from the credit union’s card processor, as well as overnight shipping. With instant issue, the member can come into a branch and pick up a replacement card same-day, no rush fees needed. Instant issue also increases member satisfaction in other ways. Waiting for a new or replacement card to be shipped that requires signature for delivery can mean days of delay before meeting up with the delivery carrier, causing endless frustration. Instant issue offers an alternative that may please the member, while presenting the credit union with an opportunity to promote card usage in mobile and digital wallets, as well as promote additional products.

To print or not to print

Instant issuance can take many forms. The most common is an inventory of non-personalized (that is, credit union branded, but without the member's name printed on the card) available for in-branch staff to activate and associate with an account. These cards are temporary, with a personalized chip card with the same card number (the same PAN) mailed out to the member in the traditional 8-10 days.

A more sophisticated and more expensive instant issue involves having an in-branch printer. The member’s data, together with the account data, is merged and sent to the specialized printer to create a personalized, permanent card. Older versions of this equipment was limited to creating mag stripe-only cards, but EMV-certified printers with software that not only personalize, but also have the capability to program the chip, have replaced older versions. Other variations of the in-branch equipment involve printing flat cards (like a hotel room key, no raised print) versus printing cards and embossing the card number, expiry, and cardholder’s name. However the cost of these specialized printers run into several thousand, per branch. Add to that the software that needs to be licensed that marries the account data and personalization data together with the correct parameters for authorization, as well as the one-time cost to obtain EMV certification, and personalized in-branch solutions can easily run into the millions. Providing the temporary, non personalized card, while a little less sophisticated, is a much more affordable way of obtaining the benefits of instant issue cards without all of the upfront capital outlay and start-up expenses.


Members don’t want to wait 8 to 10 days to receive a replacement card in the mail. Instant issue allows your members to start using their card immediately, both at POS and in-app and on e-commerce sites. Your processor can provide you with a relatively inexpensive way to begin offering instant issue cards with no infrastructure required (no card burners or special printers required.) Or you can move up to printing cards in-branch for the optimum in member satisfaction and branding.

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