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Green Banking: How Instant Financial Card Issuance Can Help the Environment

There is a strong movement to green banking that is taking hold in the market today.  Going green benefits both the consumer and the financial institutions who implement initiatives that are environmentally friendly. A recent survey released from Javelin Strategy & Research found that 57 percent of consumers expressed interest in green banking initiatives, and that number appears to be growing.  As we are all aware, going paperless is a wonderful opportunity for consumers to simplify their banking and make a change that is good for the environment.  If every U.S. household stopped receiving paper bills and statements, roughly 687,000 tons of paper would be saved every year. Yes, paper statements do take up many tons of paper, but have we considered how much paper we additionally waste when financial institutions mail new or replacement plastic credit/debit/ATM cards to their customers?  According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 80 percent of U.S. consumers carry a debit card – which means a large percentage of these consumers are receiving their cards through the mail.  Being able to instantly issue a payment card at the branch level eliminates the need to mail a card to the customer.  With instant issuance, financial institutions and retailers now have the capability to issue a variety of financial card products including ATM, debit, credit, prepaid, etc. instantly rather than having to mail the card to customers in 5-10 business days – thus cutting back on paper usage and eliminating the wait time for customers to receive their card.  Instant issuance also increases debit card usage which eliminates checks being written at point-of-sale -- so again, saving paper.  In addition to the “green” benefits, instant issuance also reduces the consumer's risk for fraud and identity theft – cards cannot be intercepted before they reach their recipients.  More card transactions and less check transactions reduce interest costs to financial institutions since electronic transactions clear faster with virtually no “float”.  Plus, paper check transactions cost money to “clear” them where a card transaction generates interchange revenue. So, why not do something that is better for the environment while providing a fast, secure and convenient way for customers to receive their plastic card?  And, instant issuance saves time and money, financial institutions will see the benefit from helping the environment, and increase activation, usage and interchange on their cards.

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