Five things Fintech startups should consider when building a card programme

With the rise of Fintech, payment cards have taken on a positively disruptive role in the financial ecosystem. Whether physical or virtual, cards are a crucial touch point to more innovative financial services and form the core of modern value propositions.

Enfuce supports our newly established Fintech Foundation incubator programme, helping startups understand the financial landscape while equipping them with the tools to launch faster. To highlight just some of the wealth of information and expertise that Enfuce will share during the programme – we spoke to the Solution Consultant at Enfuce, Michael Fabricius.

Fabricius says that Enfuce helped leading fintechs across Europe, such as Pleo and Rocker get their card businesses up and running.

"To do that, we’ve helped them design, launch, and scale award-winning payment card products. I have distilled my insights and learnings into this blog to help fintechs build a successful card business."

Ask yourself these five questions when designing a card solution

1. What are your business goals?

"Businesses should take a top-down approach to their business to understand how a card product can support their business objectives.", says Fabricius.

This lets you determine the right design for the solution, what kind of product mix it should include, and who you should partner with. This, in turn, helps you define a value proposition that resonates with your target market.

According to Fabricius, here are some examples of the business objectives that your card solution should support and address:

  • Realising overall business mission and aspirations
  • Attracting new customers by expanding your offerings
  • Growing revenue per user by increasing engagement
  • Targeting a promising market or segment gap
  • Improving conversion rate or streamlining customer onboarding
  • Differentiating yourself from the competition by offering a more end-to-end service

2. Who are your target customers, and what is their buying behaviour?

“Your target customer base heavily determines the success of a given card product. Make sure to tailor specific payment solutions to relevant user segments.”

Consumer or B2B: start by asking whether your target customers are individuals or businesses.

Demographics: then, consider what age, gender, occupation, and other demographics your target customers represent.

Needs and value-add: what products and services are your customers spending on? What added value can you bring them? What customer needs can you fulfil?

Behaviour and commitment: some customers seek certain concrete benefits. Some are more loyal than others. The timing of their purchases may vary.

Lifestyle, interests, attitudes: many customers prioritise sustainable buying choices. That’s why you ask yourself how a payment card could help your customers convey their status or lifestyle.

Preferred channels: find the marketing channels where you can reach your audience. Do your customers shop at brick-and-mortar stores, or do they prefer e-Commerce? Can you contact them through your web, mobile, partner, or social media channels?

3. What experiences do you want to create for your cardholders?

“Start thinking about your use cases. Seamless payments are key to a world-class customer experience. Build a modern, flexible, and intuitive cardholder journey.”

Fabricius confirms that fintechs must decide what kind of an end-to-end user journey and experience they want to provide their cardholders. Choosing a payment flow that complements the buying behaviours of the target audience will increase user adoption rates.

“Imagine how the user flow looks from the cardholder’s point of view. Consider the card application, cardholder onboarding, usage scenarios, and deactivation. What would be a cleverly designed onboarding journey that would fulfil your end-user value proposition, such as being able to give out virtual or physical cards instantly? How can you avoid having many redirection steps, high decline rates, or other inconveniences in your payment journey?”

4. Which markets are you targeting, and what does the competition look like?

According to Fabricius, many factors come into play when designing a scalable payment solution.

“Countries vary in consumer behaviour, payment infrastructure, and regulation. This will impact your issuing setup in each geography and the card product itself. Define your desired geographic scope early on to achieve the optimal issuing setup and card solution.”

One of the few first decisions fintechs need to make should centre around market entry; the following criterion is an excellent place to start:

  • Target market size
  • Potential barriers-to-entry
  • Market maturity for product adoption
  • Payments-related market dynamics
  • Regulations
  • Whether the market can serve as a testbed for validating a broader service offering

“Get familiar with the competitive landscape in your target market before positioning your payment service. Learn to understand your competitors and their offering. How do they approach the payments business?

You can avoid making costly mistakes if you understand what the market expects from features, pricing, and other qualities. You can benchmark your business against the first movers in your market. Then you will understand how they shaped consumer expectations and behaviours".

5. What’s your business model?

“A sustainable business model should underpin your card product. It will ultimately guide and drive customer acquisition and monetisation tactics. Your business model also impacts everything from the user journey to user experience – how your card product looks and feels to the end user.”

There are multiple ways fintechs can monetise their card products. Fintechs can, for example, offer cards:

  • As part of their subscription services
  • With a tiered interest rate – depending on users’ payment activity and loyalty
  • As a freemium offering – accelerating customer spending and loyalty
  • With usage fees collected from the cardholder

Fabricius concludes; “with the right payment partner, you can become the next innovator to reach global scale and unprecedented loyalty with your card offering.”

Enfuce is the forerunner in the fast-moving Fintech world, revolutionising payments for fintechs, banks and merchants since day one. The organisation's guidance will be invaluable to cohorts in the incubation programme. We want to thank Michael Fabricius for sharing his expertise with us.

Are you an early-stage Fintech startup looking for funding, knowledge, and technology to get your business off the ground? Then the Fintech Foundation incubator was designed with your needs in mind. Drop us a line and we'll notify you when we open the next applications round.

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