Operational Excellence: The Best Debit Marketing Strategy


Improving dispute handling for debit cardholders and minimizing false positives can increase customer retention and usage of debit cards.

Mercator Advisory Group releases new research on operational tactics for issuers to make debit cards more valued by consumers particularly in online and mobile channels.

Author: Sarah Grotta
Published on: September 7, 2017

Consumers are changing their buying habits and including more online and mobile purchases. Debit cards are less likely to be used in those channels than credit cards due in part to their concerns about the safety of their transactions and usability of their cards.

A new research report by Mercator Advisory Group, Operational Excellence: The Best Debit Marketing Strategy, recommends that the best way to increase debit card usage and customer retention is to improve dispute handling and reduce the incidence of false positives in fraud detection.

“Debit has gotten a bad reputation in the popular press for being unsafe and less accepted, particularly in digital channels. To counteract this sentiment, banks and credit unions are re-examining their approach to handling cardholder disputes to make it less disruptive to consumers and the underlying activity in their checking accounts. Issuers are also focused on fine-tuning their transaction monitoring tools to protect transactions without being so restrictive as to turn away too many legitimate transactions,” commented Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group and author of the report.

This report has 14 pages and 5 exhibits.

Companies mentioned in this report include: CO-OP Financial Services, Mastercard, and Visa.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Decline in the use of debit cards compared to credit cards for retail purchases in the United States
  • Transaction types that consumers prefer in digital channels
  • Trends and best practices in handling debit card disputes 
  • The rising risk of “friendly fraud”
  • Discussion regarding the use of data analytics to curtail false positives


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