Instant issuance technology is one of the key
tactics card issuers are implementing to encourage greater use of
debit cards, according to a study commissioned by US ATM network
operator PULSE.

Instant issuance means consumers receive their
card immediately in-branch when opening an account, a contrast to
the traditional process of receiving it by post.

The 2010 Debit Issuer Study found
that 35% of issuers offered instant issuance in either some or all
of their branches last year, up from 28% in 2008. Additionally
those institutions considering deployment of the technology
increased to 36% last year, from 26% in 2008.

“Although instant issuance can result in
higher issuing costs, financial institutions offering instant
issuance can benefit from increased profitability, greater customer
satisfaction and better security,” said Cindy Ballard, executive
vice president of PULSE.

The study also reports that 72% of card
issuers view improving the performance of their debit portfolios by
making debit penetration, activation and usage a top priority this

PULSE claims that issuers are adopting a ‘back
to basics’ approach in response to the recession, which includes
focusing on acquiring new account holders and encouraging existing
customers to use their cards for small ticket transactions.

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Debit rewards programs are another focus for
financial institutions this year. The study shows that 36% of
issuers identified rewards programs as a growth opportunity. Some
issuers surveyed believe that rewards programs increase overall
debit volume, create a competitive differentiation and strengthen
relationships with cardholders.