3 considerations fintechs are exploring for payment cards


The recent explosion of fintechs entering the market is evidence of a rapidly changing financial sector, offering new solutions to consumers who are looking for more convenient ways to use their money. As fintechs and digital banks alike grow their customer base, many recognize the importance of combining a physical card strategy with a digital card strategy. For some fintechs, payment cards are the only physical touchpoint between business and customer, so the importance of a physical card is significant when connecting their brand with cardholders.

Lane Dubin, CPI Card Group’s SVP and General Manager Prepaid, Personalization Solutions and Instant Issuance

For fintechs looking to solidify a payment card option, three main considerations have become prominent when evaluating payment card solution providers: speed to market; the ability to provide a unique personalization and packaging experience; and the use of innovative materials, including metals and eco-focused options. By aligning payment cards with their overall brand, fintechs can create a customer experience that is engaging and can drive customer loyalty.

Speed to market

Fintechs have an interest in entering the market quickly to secure their niche among the landscape of competitors. In order to meet consumer demand, fintechs want to provide services that meet expectations for instant gratification through contactless payments, on-demand solutions, digital services and quick physical card delivery.

Technology and efficiency play a crucial role in the success of a quick-to-market issuance strategy. Technologies, like APIs, give fintechs the ability to submit payment card orders systematically to a provider’s card-ordering platform, delivering on efficiency while enabling fintechs to provide a personalized cardholder experience. Print-on-demand technologies can allow for a high degree of flexibility, enabling fintechs to tailor their payment card programs, leveraging complex data sets that personalize messages to cardholders. By embracing technology and working with a print-on-demand provider, fintechs can improve the speed in which they can bring products to market.

Creating cardholder experiences

Fintechs recognize that both the card and packaging experience are important factors to impress customers. In many cases, a card is the only physical extension of a fintech’s brand. Visual elements of the card can be an expression of their visual identity, whether that is bold colors, custom graphics or creatively applied finishes or treatments. Creating a personalized experience through mailers and packaging can range from the simplest — including tailored messaging carried through from the carrier, collateral and labeling — to the more complex, with die-cut custom mailers that can create a social media-worthy unboxing experience.

Innovating with card materials

Technology aside, fintechs are also embracing innovative card materials. Heavy cards featuring encased metals are not just for high-end customers anymore; fintechs can use the noticeable weight of these materials to set themselves apart. Presenting a perceptible heft, encased metal cards offer customers a premium product and a first-class experience. Other innovations in card materials include the adoption of eco-focused payment card products that utilize upcycled materials in the card body construction. Choosing a card that reduces reliance on first-use PVC gives fintechs the opportunity to offer a product that aligns with environmentally conscious consumers.

Putting it all together

Many companies across the fintech industry also understand the significant opportunity they have to position themselves as more than just a digital or trendy version of financial services. This idea extends to payment card selection and ultimately ensures that customers are able to pay the way they want in the most convenient ways possible.

For fintechs and digital banks looking to stand out from their competition, it’s paramount that their payment card setup isn’t left as an afterthought. Through innovative options for payment cards, fintechs have an opportunity to set new standards for payment card “experiences” and create engaging and important touchpoints with their customers.

Lane Dubin has served as CPI Card Group’s SVP and General Manager Prepaid, Personalization Solutions and Instant Issuance since November 2019 and has more than 20 years’ experience in the card, financial services and business travel industries.