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Supercharge the credit card application process

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The latest and greatest financial services technology can harness the credit card sign-up process. Here’s where to start

Faster is better, right? That’s generally the case when it comes to the issuing of new consumer credit cards. Customers want their card as quickly and painlessly as possible. Speed is just as important for banks and other card issuers: The faster consumers start using their new cards, the quicker the issuer can start making money.

But faster alone isn’t enough. Any new solution enhancing the document-heavy credit card sign-up process must also understand—and help transform—legacy data management processes; reduce overall costs; and deliver an impeccable customer experience. Faster is better, yes. But faster while improving revenue, cutting costs, and creating happier customers is even better.

Moving to the very latest data capture, image processing and scanning technologies to enhance credit card sign-ups can yield significant benefits.

The Credit Card World Has Changed

The economic turbulence of the 2009 global recession led regulators to limit fees and interest rates,¹ which in turn squeezed card issuer profits. And although consumer credit levels are on the upswing once again after years in decline,² changes in technology—including the emergence of new mobile wallet, payment and app competitors—have contributed to a seismic shift. The result: Retail banking revenue is at risk. Just 16 percent of banking executives think retail banking will be a primary source of revenue by 2020. That compares with 35 percent in 2015.³

Financial Services IT Is Evolving As Well

In response to these competitive drivers, the marching orders for retail banks are clear. They must reduce costs; seek new sources of revenue; improve and reprioritize the customer experience; and improve the scalability and flexibility of their technology. Much of that work falls on bank IT departments. Some crucial, customer-facing IT projects are high-profile—such as improving digital marketing, consolidating customer service into one omnichannel system and employing big data analytics to better understand consumers.

Other bank IT investments—such as streamlining compliance processes or optimizing existing infrastructure—are less flashy but just as important, driven by the transition away from decades-old legacy processes and systems. The goal of these initiatives is universal: to help banks grow again in today’s much more competitive and technology-driven retail banking environment.

A Key Step: Improving Credit Card Sign-up Agility

When evaluating possible bank IT projects, legacy credit card sign-up processes stand out as an area in much need of improvement. Sign-up systems typically are document-heavy and highly reliant on manual processes, making them slow, unwieldy and error-prone.

Moving to the very latest data capture, image processing and scanning technologies to enhance credit card sign-ups can yield significant benefits, including:

  • Automating the credit card application process as much as possible
  • Speeding up the process while also lowering the risk of an inadvertent approval
  • Creating an approval system that can process many different document types (application forms, contracts, etc.)
  • Enabling different types of credit application workflows by automating the transfer of document-based information between banks, credit bureaus and credit card companies

The larger business benefits are also clear. The credit card application process cycle time can be reduced from an average six days to just two, significantly improving the productivity of financial staff while getting cards to consumers much more quickly. These changes impact two priorities for retail banks today: improving customer satisfaction and increasing revenue.

Organizations that don’t adapt their processes will continue to lag behind their more innovative competitors. And in today’s competitive retail banking landscape, lagging behind is not an option.

  1. CARD Act Factsheet,” Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 2011
  2. Consumer Credit Outstanding,” Federal Reserve, June 5, 2015

Bankers across the globe expect major tech companies to cut into their retail banking businessBusiness Insider March 18, 2015

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