Chip Cards and Instant Issuance

Troy Bernard
Troy Bernard

Retail Banking

By Troy Bernard

Instant card issuance has proved valuable to community banks, strengthening their customers’ loyalty and retention by enabling greater convenience. But the status quo for instant issuance will be shaken as the EMV transition progresses.

Community banks with instant-issue credit- and debit-card programs will need to make the necessary updates to their instant-issuance solutions to provide EMV cards. While many banks are planning accordingly, many do not realize how taxing and resource-intensive it can be to convert and maintain their systems.

For banks that opted for in-house systems where they are responsible for technology, knowledge management and implementation, supporting EMV chips requires a significant investment. That includes a hardware security module, for example, that must be configured to manage keys for EMV, which may require upgrades to new systems.

Additionally, hardware must be tested extensively to ensure its card-issuing system works with chips. Banks using in-house solutions must be prepared to manage this multi-step process themselves and carry it out separately from their central issuance process. Furthermore, the level of technical expertise demanded by the testing process requires an investment in training staff or making new hires.

The other option for community banks is to use an outsourced solution for instant card issuance and pay the cost to circumvent having to address these challenges themselves. An outside service provider will update its programming for EMV and conduct testing on its side (if it hasn’t already done so), with the company’s software patches capable of being rolled out securely and quickly.

Whichever instant-issuance solution your community bank chooses, it is critical to plan accordingly to manage the transition of EMV chip cards.

Troy Bernard ( is director of strategic marketing and products for CPI Card Group in Littleton, Colo., an ICBA Preferred Service Provider.