When it comes to setting up a card program, a Program Manager should be able to customize it to your company’s specific needs. While some Program Managers may only offer off-the-shelf, cookie-cutter options, a modern, agile Program Manager would have a robust team of experienced developers and operations staff to customize the cardholder experience to your requirements. There are many factors to choosing a Program Manager. There are three main areas that you should consider as you are looking to make your card program a reality: the technology offered by the Program Manager, the 3rd party vendors that they allow within their payments ecosystem, and the processing platform upon which they build their solutions.
First, the Program Manager should have the capability to customize your program and have a flexible platform to build upon. The technology that your cardholders use is one of the most critical parts of your program. If you are building the front-end technology yourself, your program manager needs to provide a robust set of APIs that allow you to connect to all of the relevant services required to build a payments product. This includes API connections to issuing banks, card networks, and issuer processors, to name the bare minimum.
The platform they use should also have integrated tools for performing “Know Your Customer” (KYC) and Customer Identification Program (CIP) processes, as well as provide tools to help prevent bad actors from gaining access to your program. Moreover, your Program Manager should be able to quickly build any custom APIs that would meet your card program’s unique needs. Suppose you are relying on your Program Manager for the front-end user experience. In that case, they should have both front-end and back-end developers who have extensive Android, iOS, and web app development experience.
Second, the Program Manager should have high-quality third-party vendors and services incorporated into their technology platform. Not every function or feature may be available out of the box, and frankly, some services do not make sense to build from scratch. For example, if you wanted to have a Cash Back Rewards feature added to your program, it may be best not to reinvent the wheel and instead seamlessly integrate an out of the box solution. An experienced Program Manager should have access to a flexible set of APIs that will allow your card program to incorporate these 3rd party vendors. This will enable you to add additional features and functionality to help make your program stand out from the crowd.
When it comes to implementing these additional services, your Program Manager should also be able to plan, test, and launch your customizations within a reasonable amount of time and to your specifications. Additionally, they should walk you through whatever needs to be done and execute what is necessary to make your vision a reality within the framework of numerous compliance rules and regulations.
Finally, your Program Manager should work with a modern processing platform upon which your entire program will be built. If your offerings expand, they need to quickly and efficiently bring those features to market for your program. So, in the end, a great Program Manager should not only be able to implement a traditional cookie-cutter debit or prepaid card program. They must also have the ability to provide additional features that can extend these programs based on the clients’ needs and business case.
A quality Program Manager should have a robust platform, high-quality third-party providers, and a state-of-the-art processing platform so they can customize your card program based on your vision. When we talk about customization and implementation, it’s not a question of, “Can this be done?”; rather, the question should be “How can this be done?”. Whether it’s a nice-to-have option, a complementary functionality to improve cardholder experience, or even a flagship feature crucial to differentiate your program. It is not the Program Manager’s job to tell you it can’t be done; it’s their job to find a way to get it done.