As consumers flock to debit cards, financial institutions are responding. Increasingly focused on meeting customer needs and expectations, issuers are launching new programs and benefits to cardholders to provide a seamless transaction experience.
At the same time, issuers are looking for ways to better understand their costs and boost profits. Yet they may not have access to robust debit card data that helps them improve program management.
The PULSE Debit Dashboard, an intuitive, easy-to-use tool, aims to solve that. The Debit Dashboard gives financial institutions access to comprehensive insights that allow them to identify trends, benchmark themselves against industry peers and achieve end-to-end visibility into program performance.
“The feedback that I get from my clients is that no other network provides this level of information and this level of transparency.”
Dan Osterkorn, PULSE® Account Executive
Empowering financial institutions with the data they need
Available to all PULSE issuing participants, the dashboard allows financial institutions to enhance their debit card program and customer experience. It provides insights and data for a full range of transactions, both at the summary level and granular level.
The dashboard includes several key features, such as an overview page that allows users to analyze data by BIN or BIN range to evaluate key portfolio metrics including revenue, expense and approval rates. Issuers also can view activity by PULSE product, including PULSE PAY®, PULSE PAY® Express, PULSE ATM, Discover® Debit and more. Further, they can view financial and transaction activity across a range of outputs, including by gross interchange income and gross dollar value.
PULSE issuers looking to get even more granular-level details also can view transactions by interchange category. Categories range from Account Funding and Account Credit to Small Ticket, General Retail and Restaurant, depending on transaction type.
Dan Osterkorn, a PULSE Account Executive who works closely with clients to help them get the most out of the dashboard, says the data the tool provides is invaluable for issuers.
“You can see how your PULSE transactions perform economically over different time periods, and also how they perform from a customer experience standpoint,” he said.
With the dashboard, participants can take a deep dive into their data and access details such as approval and decline rates. With this information, they can address underlying issues that might negatively affect the cardholder experience.
Participants find several features within the PULSE Debit Dashboard vital to managing their debit programs. Data on interchange income is one of the most beneficial. Users can access summary-level information for interchange income or see a breakdown of activity to understand what they earn across various categories, such as grocery, petroleum, bill payments and e-commerce.
“I would say that most issuers are unaware of the exact interchange they are earning and their total costs,” Osterkorn said. “With the dashboard, it's so easy to see what you are earning, and what you are paying. This transparency is key to a great client relationship.”
The dashboard also provides data that extends beyond the PULSE network in certain instances. If a financial institution uses PULSE as a gateway to another network, they can see and analyze that volume as well.
Importantly, a “Peer Comparison” feature also allows issuers to gauge how they stack up to industry peers in terms of approval and decline rates, cardholder spend activity, transaction volume, spend by category and other key metrics.
After sorting for this information, users can also easily share these insights with other stakeholders within their organizations using the dashboard’s comprehensive reporting capabilities. This tool allows them to build and export custom reports into a variety of formats, run multiple reports simultaneously and create reporting templates for future use.
“The feedback I get from my clients is that no other network provides this level of information and this level of transparency,” Osterkorn said.
The path to better-performing debit card programs
What makes the dashboard so powerful isn’t just the data it provides but how participants make this information actionable.
Financial institutions can use the data to inform forecasting and planning, and to support their marketing activities. Osterkorn said one issuer, after analyzing overall spend data, used the information to launch a rewards program aimed at helping its local community by encouraging cardholders to buy local.
Issuers can also use the data to maintain their competitive advantage. For example, if a financial institution finds its approval or decline rates trend behind its peers, it can take steps to proactively address these issues and reduce the number of legitimate payments that fail – before they have a long-term negative impact on the cardholder experience or prompt customers to head to a competitor.
As more consumers use debit cards, issuers will need to find better ways to serve them. Data can be the ultimate enabler of these efforts and help financial institutions strengthen their customer relationships – and bottom line.
“The dashboard is a very powerful tool and easy to use,” Osterkorn said. “It's important for clients to use it to have a good handle on the health of their debit program.”
To learn more about how the PULSE Debit Dashboard can help improve your program, contact your Account Executive or a PULSE debit expert.