A CEO’s Guide to Issuing Cards for Your Business Needs
Have you considered launching a card-issuing program?
While card issuing may seem outside your wheelhouse, it could be a strategic move to help your business progress toward its goals.
This beginner’s guide will explain why card issuing is on the radar for so many executives today. It covers everything you need to know as a CEO – what card issuing is when it can benefit your company, the key benefits to get excited about, critical capabilities to evaluate in an issuance platform, real examples of companies using issuing creatively, and how to select the right partner to bring your vision to life.
The goal is to explain card issuing in simple, non-technical terms without confusing payment industry jargon. Whether you’re new to card payments or a seasoned pro, you’ll leave this guide with a clear picture of how to incorporate issuing into your plans. Let’s get into it.
What is Card Issuing and Common Use Cases
If you’re new to card payments, issuing is the process of creating and distributing cards to cardholders. An issuing bank or fintech provides the card program, from production to management. As the card issuer, you handle everything from designing the cards to establishing the rules around spending limits and transaction approvals. Card issuing opens up a variety of strategic use cases, such as:
External Customer Engagement
Many companies are issuing branded credit or prepaid cards to incentivize customer loyalty. For example, retailers may offer co-branded cards that unlock discounts or rewards. As such, issuing cards can increase brand loyalty and increase customer lifetime value. The cards can also enable installment plans for large purchases which will be attractive to customers that prefer to have financing options available.
Internal Business Spend Management
Issuing virtual or physical cards to employees streamlines expenditure tracking and reconciliation. You can set customized limits on employee cards to control costs, while real-time visibility into spending gives finance teams a better handle on expenses. Issuing payable cards to vendors and suppliers also simplifies payables while increasing rebates.
Key Benefits of Launching a Card Program
Issuing cards may seem daunting, but the potential benefits get CEOs excited. Here are some of the top perks:
● New Revenue Streams – As the card issuer, most providers allow your business to earn a cut of the interchange fees from card transactions. These transaction fees can add up to a nice revenue stream. The more your cards are used, the more interchange revenue you generate. Issuing cards turns payment processing from a cost centre into a profit centre.
● Deeper Customer Relationships – Branded and co-branded cards strengthen customer engagement. Attractive rewards and discounts drive preference for your cards over competitors. Customers also appreciate value-added services like instalment plans only available with your branded cards. Their loyalty grows as you integrate payments into a differentiated branded experience.
● Control and Visibility – When employees use company-issued cards for business expenses, they gain granular control and visibility. For example, you can set customized spending limits and track expenditures in real time. Streamline reconciliation with central oversight. Issuing cards reduces wasted spending and makes costs transparent.
● Optimized Cash Flow – With the right issuing platform, you can fund cards instantly upon authorization. This removes delays from manual funding processes. Employees get immediate access to their spending power without waiting for payroll cycles. For suppliers, on-demand funding improves cash flow and financial planning.
Critical Capabilities to Look for in an Issuing Platform
The issuing platform makes or breaks your card program. Here are key considerations when evaluating providers:
Modular and Flexible Offerings
Look for a platform that allows you to mix and match components to create your ideal card product experiences. Maybe you want physical corporate cards with virtual options for certain teams. Or perhaps a hybrid of consumer prepaid cards along with commercial offerings. Modular platforms provide ultimate flexibility.
Card Management and Decisioning Tools
Robust card management tools are vital for controlling risks and costs. Look for:
● Customizable spending limits, restrictions, and controls
● Real-time transaction decisions based on your business rules
● Adjustable controls and limits even after issuance
Funding and Reconciliation Processes
Optimize cash flow by choosing a platform that can instantly fund cards upon authorization. Reconciliation should be simple and transparent. Granular data feeds and accounting automation are huge benefits.
Branding, Design, and Card Delivery
Most providers offer card design services and physical card fulfilment. For business cards, ensure they have a deep understanding of commercial needs and integration capabilities.
Security and Anti-Fraud Mechanisms
Fraud protection is non-negotiable. Look for platforms with robust identity verification, transaction monitoring, 3D Secure, and AI-powered threat detection. Make sure their standards meet your security and compliance needs. Ask about certifications like PCI DSS Level 1.
Digital Wallet and Mobile Support
In addition to physical cards, many users expect virtual, tokenized options in digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Evaluate mobile card provisioning and lifecycle management.
As emerging technologies reshape commerce, card issuing represents an intriguing opportunity for CEOs. Issuing strategic value extends far beyond rebates – branded payment experiences can strengthen emotional connections and foster loyalty with customers – both new and existing.
With the right partner, even small and mid-sized businesses can reap benefits. Modular platforms provide flexibility to experiment. Just start with a focused use case, then iterate to tailor the program over time.