Weathering Changes to Your Payments Platform

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Change is inevitable. Will you be ready?

Is there an EFT processor conversion in your future? Thinking about adding Instant Issuance or making a change to your current Instant Issuance program?

Here are a few suggestions that will help you be in a more “ready state” if you decide to make structural changes to your payments card platform.

How is your card stock inventory?

If you are considering switching instant issuance vendors, your card inventory levels will play a role as to when you should make the transition. If you have a substantial inventory of cards, it is essential to plan the switch carefully. Depleting your current stock before making the transition ensures a smoother changeover without disruptions in card issuance.

Switching vendors too early might leave you with unused card inventory. That is an investment wasted. Switching vendors too late could delay the cost savings associated with the new vendor. Finding the right balance is key.

Locating and managing your keys

If you don’t manage your keys internally, do you at least know where they are? In most scenarios, your EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) Processor is the custodian of your keys. If that’s the case, the EFT processor should be able to provide a copy of your keys upon request.

Keep in mind, some EFT processors are better at responding to this request than others. Your keys might be delivered quickly, or it could take weeks or even months. To avoid this high drama, consider managing your keys in-house. While this approach requires additional security measures to ensure safe storage, it offers significant advantages.

Risk reduction and efficiency

When keys are required for a project, having them in-house significantly reduces the time required for a key exchange. You eliminate the need to request them from an external party like your EFT Processor.

Most importantly, internal key management puts you in charge. You are no longer reliant on others. If you lack control and cannot obtain the keys from the holder, you might face the daunting task of reissuing your entire card base—a complex process, especially during an EFT Processor conversion.

Stay compliant with card network guidelines

Staying informed about Visa and Mastercard guidelines ensures a secure, compliant, and customer-friendly instant issuance process. It’s a strategic move for financial institutions aiming to meet customer demands and gain a competitive edge.

Guidelines for both card schemes can be found here: Visa and Mastercard. Remember, check at least once a year to see if the card networks have updated their guidelines.

Locating and maintaining accurate card track layouts

Your card track layouts provide the specifications of where relevant data resides within the mag-stripe of your cards. If you do not know them, nor have a record on hand, you should be able to request them from your EFT Processor.

Remember the EFT Processor plays a crucial role in managing card-related operations. When you need information about card track layouts (i.e., how data is organized on the magnetic stripe of cards), the EFT Processor will be your primary source.

Accurate track layouts ensure seamless communication between your cards and card readers (ATMs, point-of-sale terminals, etc.). If there are issues with the track layouts, errors may occur during card swipes, leading to declined transactions or incorrect data interpretation.

Properly configured track layouts also enhance security and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Is the end near?

Make sure your card stock or instant issuance equipment is not end-of-life. Understanding the life cycles of your cards and equipment is vital to preventing finding yourself in a precarious situation.

Timelines for replacing cardstock, printers, and pin-pads can be very volatile, so you will want to allow yourself ample time for replacement. Not accounting for end-of-life deadlines could lead to significant impacts to your budget—not to mention possible downtime for your card issuance program.

Confidence and peace of mind

Navigating changes to your payment processing model can feel overwhelming. Taking steps to make sure your credit union is in a ready state will provide you with the confidence and peace of mind needed to take on any future payment’s infrastructure challenges.

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