Amid a media hubbub of journalists, PRs, super friendly assistants and everyone’s favourite guest, a dog called Duffy, the first retail bank in over a 100 years to launch on the UK high street has opened its doors for business. Aiming to revolutionise the market, Metro Bank is trying out a few new tactics. Opening 7 days a week and until 8pm on week days, with jazzy logos and a customer friendly environment including treats and lollies for parched pets and tired children, it’s fair to say that Metro Bank really is focussing on customer service.
One offering they have been keen to highlight is their instant issuance; the bank can issue a new or replacement card to customers on the spot within 15 minutes, rather than the normal 3-4 working days via the postal service. While this offering is unique to Metro Bank in the UK, instant issuance is not new: banks in the Middle East have been using instant issuance for years. Although the driver there is different – a less reliable postal service makes it safer to issue cards to customers there and then – the benefits are the same. For the bank, being able to provide its customers with a fully personalised EMV card in branch reduces the cost of mailing cards. By delivering the card and PIN to the customer on the spot, it also reduces the risk of either being lost or fraudulently intercepted in the post. For the customer, the key benefit is of course time, but also convenience –if your card is lost or stolen for example, a new one can be issued in branch right away.
The question now is whether other UK banks will follow suite in offering their customers a quicker way to get their cards, or whether Metro Bank will remain alone offering a differentiated service.