Overcoming Conversion Aversion

Maria Schuld
Group Executive – Financial Services Group
Posted on February 21, 2017

What advice would you give to issuers in order to overcome their conversion aversion?

When issuers assess the pros and cons of product and service improvements that require a payments conversion, they worry about the potential disruption associated with the process. I liken it to throwing a deck of cards up in the air, which lands all over the place. But with a solid partner, playbook and execution, the issuers’ cards will land in a neatly stacked deck – all of them in the right order.

Overcoming Conversion Aversion

How do you ensure when cardholders walk up to an ATM or point-of-sale device their cards work and fraud detection is in place during and after a conversion? Foremost, all methodologies and processes used in the conversion must be built around the user experiences of your cardholders. To do that, there are three important areas you must consider: choosing your partner, preparing for the conversion and executing the conversion.

Choosing Your Partner

Initially, you pick your partner because they offer solid products and services that you want to provide to your cardholders. However, that overlooks their ability to handle the conversion process. It’s vital that you be able to understand your partner’s conversion methodology. History should also weigh heavily in making a selection. Past success with a methodology applicable to your conversion is a strong indicator that an organization is up to the task of executing your transition.

Preparing for the Conversion: Put the Playbook Together

To create your conversion playbook, you and your partner must be on the same page. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Contractual requirements for your current provider to support the conversion because your new provider will need access to consumer data and other information
  • What the transition will look like at each step of the process
  • Potential points of risk and details of a plan to mitigate risk
  • Everyone’s role at each step of the conversion process

All stakeholders should be included in discussions. For example, your support area must be aware of what’s being communicated to cardholders in order for them to support a positive consumer experience.

Never underestimate the value of a trial run. Believe me, you won’t regret testing your conversion before it’s complete.

Executing the Conversion

Successful conversions require that all parties communicate, communicate, communicate:

  • Insist that your partner tells you what’s happening at each step.
  • Communicate to your internal staff at each step. They need the knowledge to do their jobs well when they get inquiries from consumers.
  • Communicate to your consumers. Let them know what’s happening and how they will benefit so this can be a positive experience for them as well.

Consumer communications are critical to executing a successful conversion. If consumers are required to take some type of action, they will need clear communications and reminders. Communications through your call center, website popups, email, snail mail and other venues will help them understand any changes that you have planned during this transition. Plan to increase your call center bandwidth for a time post-conversion to handle consumer questions.

Avoiding the Landmines

Here’s where conversion-related landmines often hide:

  • Timing issues: Understand when all of the events have to occur. Are there contractual notices that must be given? Are there regulatory notices that must be given?
  • Execution: Understand what your mitigation plan is if tasks don’t occur on time. Have a Plan B.
  • Communication: Understand how, what and when you are going to communicate internally and externally. Have a “bad news” communication plan in place in case something goes awry.



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Maria Schuld
Group Executive – Financial Services Group

With over 20 years of experience in the financial and payments industry, Maria is the Group Executive for debit, credit, fraud operations and business management. Previously, she was a senior management team member for Metavante before its 2009 acquisition by FIS. Other areas of expertise include implementation management, account management, and professional services management.