Cascade FinTech

How Program Managers Work with Issuing Banks, Networks, and Processors

Program Management companies manage the relationships between banks, networks and processors for their clients. You can think of them as the conductor of an orchestra, where the client picks the setlist and brings the audience. Program Managers focus on ensuring the project’s tempo keeps moving on time while maintaining the orchestra’s various players’ synchronicity.

The Program Manager will take care of all of the day-to-day tasks so that the program owner can focus their attention on marketing, acquiring customers, and driving revenue for their business. The Program Manager is orchestrating everything across the board to avoid a cacophony of noise. The goal is producing a beautiful sounding symphony that ends with the successful launch of your card program.

Having a Program Manager that has the right relationships already in place is particularly important. These relationships help smooth out the process of interfacing with banks, working with card networks, and engaging with all 3rd party vendors that will be integrated into your card program. These relationships are crucial to picking the right Program Manager, as the relationships they have in place with these key partners will determine how long it takes to launch your card program and what features you can offer.

Take, for example, the relationship with the bank; they’re going to approve your program, but only after many check marks are in place. They will be deeply involved in approving all customer-facing collateral and ensuring all details comply with federal regulations. They will also be essential in funding accounts, as that is where your cardholders’ funds will reside. There are numerous steps to set up, configure, and manage all of this correctly. It is the Program Manager’s job to help you navigate these numerous steps, ensuring that it all gets done at the right time.

When it comes to setting up the card networks, it is not only the leading well-known card networks that are of concern to your card program. There are also smaller ones that make up a robust card program, such as ATM networks (surcharge and surcharge-free), reload networks, and secondary debit networks. In addition to setting up the networks, it is vital to ensure that card fulfillment vendors, CIP vendors, and other needed vendors are in place to ensure that you have a robust program. The Program Manager orchestrates all of these relationships to ensure everything runs smoothly.

You will also want an experienced Program Manager to help prevent bad actors from entering your program’s ecosystem. Unmitigated fraud losses can bankrupt a new card program. That is why having an experienced Program Manager with extensive fraud mitigation experience can make or break your card program.

Finally, there is the question of the Processor, which may be one of the most significant pieces of this puzzle. The issuer processor will provide the platform upon which your technology will exist and where your Program Manager will be building out your card program’s functionality. At Cascade, in addition to being a Program Manager, we are also a full-service Processor.

From a Program Management standpoint, we will help you determine what services you want to offer and set your card program’s limits to your specifications. Then from the issuer processor side, we have the platform on which those configurations will be made. Since this can occur in-house for programs built on our processing platform, we can quickly bring a card program to market. This can help you get up and running in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of doing it themselves with another third party processor platform.

Overall, the Program Manager helps you sort through every detail of your card program to optimize in the best possible way. This includes overcoming potential roadblocks from relationships with the various networks, the Processor, issuing banks, and other 3rd party vendors. Our operations team has over 50 years of accumulated experience at Cascade, spanning both the banking and the payment industry. As a Program Manager, we are here to be the glue that binds all of these relationships, to fulfill your vision, help make your program become a reality, all while making beautiful music together.