Cascade FinTech

What does a Card Program Manager Do and Why Do You Need One?

Launching a debit or prepaid card program is tough…it may start very simple but can quickly balloon into a much larger endeavor. It begins with a vision, and then it quickly evolves into a number of complex projects, spanning across multiple areas of expertise and 3rd party vendors. As with any significant undertaking, there will always be roadblocks. These obstacles seem to occur not in just one, but multiple critical areas, especially with a project plan that involves numerous third parties and ever-changing rules and regulations. Enter the Program Manager.

What does a Program Manager do for a business that wants to start a new card program? At the core, a Program Manager is there to help make your business’s vision a reality. This means they will help you identify, plan, and execute the steps that lead to your card or payments program’s launch. You’re able to leverage the expertise and extensive experience of that Program Manager to find the optimal path to a successful launch. 

A Program Manager can provide critical services as well, filling in gaps as needed. This could mean providing resources and services related to the payment platform itself, front and back end technology, product development, data analytics, fraud mitigation, and customer service. Even if you can take on all these services in-house, the Program Manager is still an important partner. With an experienced Program Manager, you’re gaining invaluable insights and relationships that otherwise may be difficult to develop in a short period of time. 

The Program Manager will also guide you through the maze of third-party relationships necessary to run a modern payments business. This includes leveraging pre-existing relations with card fulfillment vendors, card networks, and issuing banks, along with many smaller third-party relationships that you don’t have to go out and procure yourself – not to mention all of the implementation fees and monthly minimum commitments that each vendor will certainly require.   

In short, a Program Manager with the right guidance can help get your payment product out to market quickly so that you can determine your business model’s viability quickly while savings hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

Choosing the right Program Manager can be the difference between launching on time or not launching at all. Cascade started off as a prepaid card program ourselves, and early on as a card program, we had this very experience. After dealing with our own Program Manager, which took over two years to launch our card program (and then shut down a few days later), we realized that we had to become Program Managers ourselves to meet our own high standards. We learned the hard way to launch and run our own card program and built upon that experience, optimizing the process as we evolved. 

We also learned that every card program is unique, with specific needs and features necessary to differentiate you from the competition. As an Issuer Processor that also provides debit and prepaid card Program Management, we customize our approach enough to tailor your payments program to meet your target market’s unique demands. Simultaneously, we also follow a well-defined process that gets the program up and running in the quickest possible amount of time. 

A mature and experienced team will be a critical factor to success. So, why try to navigate this complex effort alone? We built Cascade so that you don’t have to.