ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 38

>>> PAYMENTS

Five Tactics for Successfully
Converting a Debit Card Program
BY TINA OREM

B

ank leaders are constantly
on the lookout for ways to
increase their non-interest
income, and one option is to
switch debit card programs.
But change isn't easy. We talked to
three bank executives who recently
moved to a different debit card
program and asked about the snags
and successes they encountered in
the process.

01Plan for it to take time.

Expect at least a year-long
project. David Seyler, who is SVP of
cash management services for Old Line
Bank in Bowie, Md., says his bank's
switch to Discover Debit, endorsed by
ABA for signature debit, took about
18 months.
Reissuing debit cards, which can also
involve card design and mass-reissue
planning, isn't the only step, of course.
"Have early conversations with your
core provider because they are key,"
Seyler warns, noting that Old Line
uses FIS.
Dann Lee, who is EVP and retail
banking executive officer at Cadence
Bank in Birmingham, Ala., says that
Cadence Bank's conversion process
to Discover Debit ran about 12 to 18
months, including a friends-and-family
test that took about four months.
For Mike Grove, who is CEO of Bank
of the Rockies in Helena, Mont.,
the switch-also to discover-has
been about two years in the making.
He expects his program to go live

38

ABA BANKING JOURNAL | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

sometime in the fourth quarter of
this year after a long effort with core
processor Fiserv to accommodate the
new debit vendor.

Think about how
02
the program will
behave in the wild.
Take some time to consider whether
and how the customer transaction
experience will change when your debit
program goes live. "The world seems
accustomed to Visa and Mastercard
debit, but not Discover," Grove said.
"Discover is a small player, but thanks
to ABA they're going to be a big
player here."
Old Line issued its first wave of new
cards to about half its cardholder base
in the past two months after its own
successful friends-and-family test, says
Seyler. "We pushed the acceptance
rate to around 99 percent and there's
still a little bit of concern about the
remaining one percent, because one
percent is still a number of phone
calls and potentially still a number of
customers who may be dissatisfied,"
he explains. Seyler says the solution
has been that if the bank hears a
merchant does not accept Discover,
the bank reports that to Discover.
"They get on the phone with that
vendor or that merchant and 80 or 90
percent of the time, they convince the
merchant to accept Discover," he says.
International use is also something to
think about, says Seyler. "For those
customers that do travel overseas

frequently, we typically would
encourage them to use their credit
cards for a whole variety of reasons.
But if they insist on using their debit
card, we did keep a Visa [bank
identification number] active so we can
issue Visa if need be to customers who
just are going to travel a lot. We just
don't want them to be inconvenienced,
so we do have a backup there,"
he explains.

a robust
03Have
communications plan.

Spreading the news about a debit
program switch takes more effort than
just throwing together a few employee
training sessions.
"We sent out bank-wide emails
explaining why we're doing what we're
doing, the time frames involved,"
Seyler says. "For those customers that
participated in what we call the friends
and family [test], the branch team
reached out to touch those people oneon-one and said, 'Hey, we'd like you
to kind of be a guinea pig for us. What
do you think?' Most of them were fine
and more than happy to do it. Then
we sent out additional communication
to our customers saying, 'You're going
to be getting a new Discover card.'
We had statement stuffers, statement
messages, mailings, all that kind
of stuff."
Dann Lee says Cadence Bank sent
out its cards in completely different
packaging than customers would
typically get for a new card, and it
began using branch merchandising



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017

Chairman’s View
Upfront
Legal Briefs
Economic Outlook
Power Up Profile
Pitching In
Choices and Options Down on the Farm
Eager or Not, Every Board Needs an M&A Strategy
Adapting to Survive
More Than Just a Drink
Operations
Payments
Small Business Lending
Human Resources
ABA Compliance Center Inbox
From the States
Corporate Social Responsibility
Index of Advertisers
From the Vault
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Intro
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - ebelly1
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - ebelly2
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - cover1
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - cover2
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 3
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 4
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 5
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 6
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 7
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Chairman’s View
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 9
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Upfront
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 11
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 12
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 13
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 14
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 15
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Legal Briefs
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 17
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Economic Outlook
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Power Up Profile
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Pitching In
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 21
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 22
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 23
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 24
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 25
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Choices and Options Down on the Farm
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 27
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Eager or Not, Every Board Needs an M&A Strategy
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 29
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Adapting to Survive
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 31
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 32
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 33
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - More Than Just a Drink
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 35
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Operations
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 37
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Payments
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 39
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Small Business Lending
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 41
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Human Resources
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 43
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 44
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - ABA Compliance Center Inbox
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - From the States
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - 47
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Corporate Social Responsibility
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - Index of Advertisers
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - From the Vault
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - cover3
ABA Banking Journal - November/December 2017 - cover4
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