Learn how to approach payment program management in financial services—and why it matters for your program profitability and long-term success.

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Should You Become Your Own Card Program Manager?


July 29, 2020

One size doesn’t fit all, and we don’t think your program should have to conform to someone else’s concept of what you can accomplish.
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By Scott Johnson, Senior Vice President, Galileo

At Galileo, we’ve long recognized that in payments one size doesn’t fit all. The creative entrepreneurs driving the payments industry forward require payment processing platforms that provide the flexibility and options to bring their most innovative visions to market. And that’s exactly what Galileo Pro offers through our powerful API-based platform that’s become the industry standard for card issuing and digital banking.

Although it might be bragging to say that if Galileo’s payment platform can’t handle what you need, no one’s can—there, I’ve said it. My intent, however, isn’t to boast but to offer some thoughts on the case for being your own card program manager.

To be sure, acting as your own card program manager isn’t for every payment business. If it’s not right for you, Galileo can fill this role or you can explore our newest solution, Galileo Instant. But if you’re launching into payments (or you’re already there), considering being your own card program manager—now or in the future—is time well spent.

Program Manager Defined

First, what is a payments program manager? Although there’s no standard definition, the term refers to the entity typically responsible for establishing and maintaining relationships with the significant parties in the payments value chain. This may include a combination of the issuer processor, sponsoring bank, payment network, and card manufacturer and personalizer. Program managers also may be responsible for settlement, reconciliation and dispute handling; fraud protection; customer authentication; and even marketing and distribution.

Benefits of Being Your Own Card Program Manager

Those responsibilities might sound daunting, but before you jump to conclusions: First, recognize that any relationship or function you’re not comfortable pursing on your own can be outsourced and, if you’re working with Galileo as you payment processing platform, we’re connected to multiple providers in each category and can provide recommendations and introductions to smooth your path.

And second, there are significant advantages to being your own card program manager, including:

Revenue. As your own card program manager, you maximize the benefit of the interchange revenue your customers generate when they use your card or digital banking solution to make purchases and pay bills. As your program grows, interchange can provide a major revenue stream—particularly if you use the Galileo Pro Solution, which returns 100 percent of your debit card and prepaid card interchange revenue to you.

My suggestion is to look at your long-term growth projections to determine the impact of giving up a share of your interchange revenue. While foregoing full interchange revenue might be attractive in your first months of operation while your customer base and transaction activity are relatively low, think about the incremental revenue you may be forfeiting over the next two to five years as your program takes off. The long-term opportunity might not be worth the short-term benefit.

In addition, if your program charges fees—now or in the future—the level of those fees and they revenue they generate is yours.

Control. Acting as your own card program manager gives you maximum control over your payments program—whether you’re issuing debit cards, prepaid cards or virtual cards; starting a challenger bank or neobank; building a banking app; or creating a digital payment solution. You can choose the exact partners (i.e., sponsoring bank, payment network, and card manufacturer/ personalizer) that best suit your payments processing requirements and directly negotiate fees and other arrangements with your chosen partners.

And, if you’ve already established those relationships, say with a card issuing bank, it’s likely Galileo is connected, so you don’t need to repeat the process.

In addition, with Galileo, you can be your own card program manager using any BIN classification, so you can program manage your own debit, credit and prepaid programs, including commercial, commercial credit and SMB programs.

Flexibility. The key to successful new card issuing and digital banking solutions is differentiation—solving your target audience’s pain points better than any other provider. If you can’t differentiate, what’s the point? As your own card program manager, you have maximum flexibility to design the exact program you want, with features and functionality targeted specifically to your audience.

We’ve Got You Covered

Based on these benefits, if it makes sense for your company to be your own card program manager, Galileo Pro is your solution.

If you’re not sure if you’re ready for Galileo Pro, let’s have a consultative discussion about your program—what it is and where you want to take it—and we’ll help you understand all your options: Galileo Pro, Galileo Pro with Galileo providing optional services or Galileo Instant, a turnkey solution with Galileo providing comprehensive program management.

One size doesn’t fit all, and we don’t think your program should have to conform to someone else’s concept of what you can accomplish. Nor do we think that others should benefit from your hard-earned success of building your transaction volume. With Galileo you have choices, because our payment processing platform is powerful and flexible—and architected for reliability and scalability.

Choosing your payments processing platform is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in launching your card issuing and digital banking program. So, you want it to be the right one—from the start. I invite you to contact us so we can explore your options.


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Videos featuring Scott Johnson:

With Fintech Finance on why Galileo’s payments platform and open APIs are best suited to power world-class fintechs like Monzo BankTransferWise and many more.https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6689881656913862656

With PaymentsJournal and Mercator Advisory Group’s Sarah Grotta on whether the U.S. is finally ready to adopt contactless payments.https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6681585719040974848

At Group Futurista’s “Future of Contactless Payments Post Covid-19” conference with The Fletcher Group’s Jennifer Tramontana on the effects of COVID-19 on issuer processor companies.https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6673312343843188736