The future for banks is certainly an intriguing one. There are great opportunities coming forward now as more and more people embrace online and mobile banking. There are however some uncertainties ahead; physical bank branches are closing at fast rate. In the UK for example, approximately 8,000 branches have closed in the past 25 years. Société Générale has plans to close 400 branches in France by 2020, and three of the UK’s big four has similar plans to close 400 branches this year alone. Santander in Spain is also planning to close 450 branches.
It’s clear banks need to make sure they’re thinking outside the box and covering all the angles possible when it comes to retaining and winning new customers. There are of course many ways they can do this and investing in digital banking is one of these.
But it’s also worth considering what banks can do to make the banking process for their customers more personal. In a world of nearly 7.5 billion people, it can be easy to get lost in the crowd – so it’s always nice to find a way to distinguish yourself. That’s where customizable cards come in to play. See below for five reasons why these cards are the future and why they should be front of mind for card providers.
1. The chance to be unique
As we’ve mentioned already, most customers are keen to find any way to distinguish themselves today. They want to be different and seen as an individual when dealing with their bank and day to day payments. A customizable card gives you the chance to experience this – it’s an easy way help to keep a customer happy and to not feel like one of the masses.
2. Environmentally friendly production
Customizable cards give customers and banks the chance to go green, thanks to improved production methods. However, not all customizable cards have a sustainable production process. This is unfortunate as many consumers care not only about their individuality but also about the environment. Responsible, green and sustainable banking is crucial now, especially if new customers are to be acquired and existing ones retained. Fortunately, there are sustainable options available for customizable cards, which offer a “carbon offset” solution to compensate greenhouse gas emissions generated by card production.
3. Card differentiation
Sometimes, it’s easy to confuse different payment cards you may have in your wallet. In the past, I’ve accidentally use the wrong card for a purchase as they can look so similar at first glance. This situation can be especially confusing for people who have 3-4 cards. In fact, in 2014, American card owners owned an average of 3.7 cards! Some people want to, understandably, have separate cards for separate things, such as personal spending versus family or business spending. Customizable cards give these people an easy way help distinguish between what they should and shouldn’t be using.
4. Opportunities for issuers, banks and third parties
Customizable cards also provide an excellent opportunity for issuers and banks to involve third parties in transaction processes and implement loyalty programs. This can be very beneficial for retailers such as supermarkets which can partner with banks. As an example, each time a consumer uses their custom card issued by their bank, co-branded by a partnering supermarket, they would receive a 10% discount or loyalty points.
5. Have some fun!
Customizable cards allow consumers (and banks) to have some fun! You can create some entertaining designs – all you need is some imagination, or a pet!
For more information on how customizable cards can bring real business benefits to the financial sector and how important first impressions are, make sure you check out our dedicated page on card personalization services. And feel free to let us know what you think by tweeting to us @Gemalto or leave a comment below.