Because of the cost of the infrastructure required to issue cards, retail banks, especially smaller ones, or start-up Fintechs, can outsource their card production, personalisation and card management functions to specialist card-issuing service providers who handle all the technical and operational aspects, with cards being ordered by a secure portal with the retail bank. Bank employees have access to the issuing service’s card management platform.

Card-issuing services will also make card information available to the bank, via an API, to be used by the bank’s mobile app, such as real-time transaction notification, card freezing, PIN reminder and card management services, such as lost and stolen.

To facilitate authorisation, the bank provides real-time access to account information or sends account balances on a regular frequency during the day via an API between the organisations. They will also perform authentication, such as EMV 3D Secure on behalf of the bank.

Clearing, which updates the card management platform, adds the customer’s account number, and sends the transactions to the bank to debit the customer’s account uses an API. An issuing service does not get involved with settlement.

Organisations providing card issuing services will also usually perform card management services such as fraud management, lost and stolen, and chargeback services on behalf of the bank.