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How To

How to Increase Card Usage Through Design

How to Increase Card Usage Through Design 3

How to Increase Card Usage Through Design 4

 

By Josh Hatcher, Senior Graphic Designer at Vericast Card Solutions

It’s in the best interest of financial institutions to increase customer debit or credit card usage. Financial institutions collect interchange fees from merchants who process a credit card or debit card payment. However, when consumers pay with cash, banks do not earn interchange revenue. Additionally, credit and debit cards compete with payment apps like Venmo, PayPal and Square’s Cash App. 

To increase debit or credit card usage, financial institutions should be strategic when creating a debit or credit card program. There is a lot to consider, such as loyalty and rewards programs, changing industry regulations, emerging trends, new materials and technologies. Financial institutions should not underestimate how the card looks and feels in order to get consumers’ attention, improve brand reputation and achieve top of wallet status.

As a custom card designer at Vericast, I have designed thousands of custom cards for hundreds of clients with millions of cards in circulation in nearly every state. With more than two decades of experience designing custom cards for financial institutions, here are three key things to consider that can help make cards top-of-wallet.

Card Design 

If financial institutions want to make their credit and debit cards a consumer’s go-to necessity, then they should offer cards with attractive, eye-catching designs that build a favorable impression of the brand. Consumers like and are more likely to use cards that look unique and show prestige. For instance, cards with vibrant colors and embellishments such as metallic inks and matte finishes can make a card stand out and influence the card holder to use it more often. 

When deciding on a card’s design, it’s important to stay up to date with trends and consumer preferences. For example, graphic styles have moved from image-packed to streamlined and simple. 

While gift cards tend to have festive designs, credit and debit cards often use designs unique to the financial institution’s location, like a local landmark, branding or consumer demographics. Card designs can be more personalized to the customer and their interests such as including the logo of their favorite local sports team. Credit and debit cards can also use similar design characteristics to complement each other when issued as part of a series to encourage customers that like a design to sign up for both a credit and debit card.  


Card Material 

Card issuers also need to be strategic when choosing a card’s material as it’s an opportunity to leave a positive impression of a financial institution. There is a variety of card materials to choose from like metal, color core cards, transparent material, and cards made out of recycled materials. The material of the card not only can enhance the card’s design and catch the consumer’s attention, but it can also be an opportunity for financial institutions to showcase their values and that they prioritize environmental responsibility. 

Financial service marketers don’t currently view corporate responsibility as an important part of their strategy. In fact, according to the Vericast 2022 Financial Services TrendWatch Report, financial service marketers ranked social and environmental responsibility as the least important priority in their list of marketing goals for the year. 

Conversely, consumers ranked community/civic involvement and social responsibility high on their list of priorities and said they are more likely to choose financial institutions who match these values. Environmental responsibility also helps with customer retention, with 54% of consumers reporting that they are more likely to be loyal to a brand that’s environmentally responsible or has sustainable/ethical business practices. Unfortunately, the disconnect between consumers and financial institutions will only get wider unless financial marketers start appealing to these important consumer values.

One way financial institutions can show they care about the environment and differentiate themselves from competitors is by offering recovered ocean-bound plastic cards as an option to their customers. The Vericast 2022 Financial Services TrendWatch Report found that 93% of consumers would switch to a card made from recovered ocean-bound plastic if offered by their current issuer and that more than half are willing to switch to another financial institution if it offered such cards.

It is estimated that for every one million payment cards produced with recovered ocean-bound plastic, more than one ton of plastic will be diverted from entering the world’s oceans, waterways and shorelines. Ocean-bound plastic cards also still provide the same level of service for users, since they are compatible with EMV® (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) and contactless payment technologies.

Instant Issuance 

According to recent research, 47% of cards are used within eight hours of receipt. Financial institutions can increase card transactions, activation, and usage while also providing a convenient and hassle-free experience that customers have come to expect by offering customers instant access to activate cards at the branch. 

Instead of waiting several days to receive a credit or debit card via mail, a customer can receive their card on-the-spot by taking advantage of print-on-demand in-branch card issuance. Instant issuance allows an institution to reflect their brand or allow a consumer to choose from a gallery of images if an institution offers one. This is a win-win situation for the customer and the financial institution. With instant issuance, the financial institution delivers a better-in branch experience, increases customer satisfaction, and decreases fulfillment operational costs. 

Card programs can connect — even emotionally — with customers everywhere, several times a day, every day. Financial institutions should focus on offering eye-catching designs, environmentally friendly card materials, and convenience and personalization to consumers in order to increase card usage and ensure their debit and credit cards achieve top of wallet status. 

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