Customer demand for prepaid cards was growing at First Tennessee Bank. The bank had limited experience in prepaid issuance, so they needed help validating if prepaid was relevant for their customer base. And if so how to effectively position and process it in market.
"We issued three RFPs, and it became clear that Visa DPS was the winner. They presented a succinct proposal that was very compelling, combined with very sound implementation methodology," Sheri Sanders, First Tennessee Prepaid Card Administrator, recalled.
Jeff Barnes of Visa DPS Implementation Services laid out their rationale: "Debit and prepaid is our core focus at Visa DPS. We support a majority of the prepaid issuers in market, so we've lived through implementations, mistakes and changes that impact this channel. We're also able to provide consultative feedback to issuers when they need help with configuration decisions."
Sharing real experiences from their portfolio of top issuers, Visa DPS helped First Tennessee understand what products and programs were relevant to the bank's growth strategy. Working with Sheri and her team, Jeff and the Visa DPS team provided data that helped First Tennessee build internal business cases and volume projections.
Designing a prepaid system to meet First Tennessee's unique needs required asking all the right questions. So with learnings gained from the bank's past prepaid program and knowledge of current customer habits and needs, Jeff and Sheri put their heads together to work through every variable.
The answers led them to a unique solution for the bank: a freestanding, self-service stand that allows consumers to select from several prepaid card options and load a denomination of their choice. To ensure success, Jeff worked with Sheri to fully understand First Tennessee's existing systems in order to head off potential issues that come with new integration. As Sheri put it, "They were able to protect us from ourselves."
In a period of just six months, Sheri, Jeff and the Visa DPS Prepaid team went from idea to up-and-running solution. They met First Tennessee's deadlines to launch four prepaid card programs: two disposable cards in May, in time for graduations; and two reloadable cards the following December, in time for the holidays. And they did it in a way unique to their market.
First Tennessee originally projected 10,000 cards in 12 months. The bank sold 30,000 cards the first year—with the first order coming from a commercial customer that wanted 1,000. The prepaid card stands worked and Sheri and her bank couldn't be happier. "We're really proud of this. We've filled a customer-needs gap, and those are 30,000 interactions with customers that wouldn't have happened otherwise."
Thanks to Visa DPS's meticulous project management and to Sheri and Jeff's iterative daily communications, the creative project launch was a great success. And since Visa DPS is the processing platform for many new Visa Inc. initiatives, current and future Visa DPS clients benefit across the board. As new product innovation creates valuable experiences that are infused through the Visa DPS implementation team and permeated to issuers everywhere.