Instant Issuance of Debit Cards: The Newest Best Practice


Instant Issuance in the Branch Becoming Essential for Debit Card Issuers

Author: Ronald Mazursky
Published on: May 6, 2014

Boston, MA – May 06, 2014 – The technology for instant issuance of debit cards has been available for years, but its adoption by banks and credit unions and awareness by consumers has generally been low. Recent data breaches have stimulated many financial institutions (FIs) to evaluate the need and impact of issuing cards in their branches in real time. Instant issuance allows FIs to print debit cards directly in branches in order to provide the customer with a debit card for immediate use. Instant issuance could deliver an original debit card for a new customer or a replacement debit card for one that has been reported lost or stolen.

Historically, this service has been offered more often by small or medium-sized institutions than by large institutions, but recently large FIs such as TD Bank and JPMorgan Chase have begun to offer instant debit issuance as a competitive point of differentiation. The benefits of instant issuance are numerous, ranging from improved customer service to immediate utilization to increased profitability. Mercator Advisory Group’s latest report, Instant Issuance of Debit Cards: The Newest Best Practice, provides a broad look at instant issuance, including its benefits, costs, consumer attitudes toward it, types of instant issuance, and payment network rules. The report presents details from Mercator Advisory Group’s review of printer vendors, survey of the top 25 U.S. banks by asset size and the top 25 credit unions by asset size identifies their position on offering instant issuance in their branches, and a comparison of the different types of card issuing programs.

“The question is no longer whether, but when, financial institutions in the United States will adopt the practice of instant issuance of debit cards. Instant issuance will soon cease to be a competitive differentiator. As the attitudes of the customer shift toward instant, online, and digital, enabling the customer to walk out of a branch with a fully functional debit card will soon become an expected practice for debit card issuers and retail bankers,” comments Ron Mazursky, Director, Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group and author of the report.

This report has 27 pages, 9 exhibits, and 2 appendixes.

Organizations mentioned in this report include: Bank of America, BECU Federal Credit Union, Consumers Banker Association, Credit Union National Association, Datacard Group, Evolis, JP Morgan Chase, MagTek, MasterCard, Matica, Navy Federal Credit Union, NBS Technologies, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC Bank, Pulse, Security Service Federal Credit Union, State Employees Federal Credit Union, TD Bank, US Bank, Visa, and Wells Fargo.

Members of Mercator Advisory Group’s Debit Advisory Service have access to these reports as well as the upcoming research for the year ahead, presentations, analyst access, and other membership benefits.

Highlights of this Research Report include:

  • Benefits and costs of instant issuance 
  • Triggers of adoption by banks and credit unions 
  • MasterCard and Visa rules 
  • Types of instant issuance of debit cards 
  • Profiles of leading printing device vendors in the U.S. 
  • Survey of instant issuance position of top 50 U.S. financial institutions 
  • Comparison of card issuing programs



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