M2P Fintech
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M2P Fintech

Payment cards design made simple: Here’s what you need to know?

Did you know that your payment card could be your best brand ambassador?

It doesn’t matter whether you are a business, Non-Banking Finance Company(NBFC), or a bank. You can issue prepaid cards, credit cards, and debit cards that will help drive brand loyalty and revenue.

Wonder how?

Simple. By customizing payment cards.

Why is payment card design important?

Bland, run-of-the-mill cards lack soul. They do not call or speak to customers on a subconscious level and hence do not elicit usage.

On the other hand, adding a personalized twist to cards enhances the emotional bond between the cardholder and the issuer. Card customization boosts customer acquisition, retention, transaction frequency, and value.

Consumers worldwide prefer card issuers that deliver cool customized cards with family/pet portraits or pictures of their choice. But businesses and banks need to remember that whatever the design personalization may be, certain standardized elements need to be consistent across cards.

Design standardization parameters

Here are some basic parameters that we need to adhere to while designing standard yet customized payment cards.

Card size requirements

It goes without saying, card design starts with opening an empty artboard. And the next step is deciding the size of the payment card. Here are some standardized card dimensions.

  • Width and height of card: 85.60 mm x 53.98 mm (3.370 in × 2.125 in)
  • Radius of corners: 3.175 mm, in accordance with ISO/IEC 7810#ID-1 standard
  • Overall breathing space: 3 mm

The size is all set!

Types of design

Payment card design can be classified into three types.

· Abstract

· Conceptual

· Logo-based

Abstract — Creating a payment card with shape, form, color, and gestural marks.

Conceptual — Designing based on a particular concept such as gift, meal, travel, teenagers usage, and so on.

Logo-based — Here, the designer needs to stick to the bank or card network norms and design criteria. In these cases, the requirement comes with a standard design opportunity based on the client’s brand logo and color palette.

Now, let’s check out key elements that need to be present in payment cards.

Elements of a payment card

Any credit, debit, or prepaid card contains certain components that are crucial to establish identity and security, and enable payment processing. Card issuers cannot compromise on these element placements at any point in time.

Front side of a card
Backside of a card
  1. Issuing bank logo or name

The issuing bank is the bank that provides network branded payment cards to the customers. The issuing bank follows stipulated norms for logo placement on the card and the norms vary from one card network to another.

2. EMV chip

The tiny metal chip that looks like a sim card is called the EMV Chip. EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) is a global standard for credit and debit payment cards based on chip card technology.

The EMV chip is a square metal chip placed on the front side of the payment card. It stores sensitive information and is a crucial security enabler. Hence no other element should be placed on the corresponding space at the back of the card. The cardholder should make sure that no damages are done to the chip as it contains a critical security code.

3. Contactless icon

The Wi-Fi symbol or NFC symbol on the card’s front side is the contactless icon. This icon facilitates contactless payments without entering the Personal Identification Number (PIN) on Point Of Sale (POS) machines.

4. Card network logo

Rupay, Visa, and MasterCard are some of the popular card networks in India. They connect the issuing bank with the acquiring bank to facilitate online transactions. It is mandatory to place their logos on the card.

5. Cardholder name

The cardholder's name can be printed in two ways on the card. It could be embedded via embossed printing or indenting printing to provide a personalized touch and inlay feel. If the card is provided in an instant issuance process, then the cardholder's name cannot be displayed.

6. Magnetic stripe

The grey magnetic stripe at the back of the card stores all the sensitive information. It can be read-only through a specialized card reader machine that receives payments. As per International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards, the magnetic stripe should be placed only on the backside, in either the upper or lower position.

7. Card number

The most sensitive data on the payment card is the 14–19 digit card number. These unique series of digits help the cardholder make successful online purchases by identifying the account with the card-issuing bank. The card number can be on the backside if embedded via indenting printing, but for embossed printing, the card number should be placed only in the front.

8. Card product type

Every card has its product category name, like Platinum, Signature, Business, and Classic, to name a few. The card category can be printed on both the front and backside as per card network norms. Each category comprises specialized features and offerings that are defined by their issuing banks. This category name should be clearly printed on the card.

9. Validity date

Some cards require both the issuing date and expiration date to be printed. And some contain only the expiry date. These dates help cardholders understand the validity duration of their cards. Banks track these dates and upon expiration, they send a new card to the cardholder's mailing address.

10. Security code

Security code is also referred to as Card Verification Value (CVV), Card Identification (CID), Card Verification Code (CVC), or Card Security Code (CSC). The security code is included in the payment card to provide an additional layer of security for seamless online shopping. It is usually printed on the backside of the card and alongside the signature panel, based on the CVV type.

11. Hologram

The hologram proves that the card is authentic and not a duplicate one. Some of the card issuers place their holograms on the front side of the card.

12. Signature panel

The signature panel comes into play whenever there is a suspicious transaction. It is usually placed on the back of the card. Businesses can always match the signature on the card with the actual signature of the cardholder to check authenticity. Every cardholder must sign on the signature panel.

13. Bank details

Generally, the contact number of the issuing bank’s call center is included in the card. This number is intended to be of quick help if the card is not working or needs to be blocked. The issuing bank address is also displayed to help in case of a lost card, where the finder can deliver the card to the respective bank. The banks also include their terms and conditions on the card.

Apart from the above-mentioned mandatory elements, card-issuing banks and businesses need their branding elements to present on the card. That’s when end customers will relate to and engage with the issuing business.

So, personalizing is not just for end customers. In fact, it's more of vanity for them. But for card issuer banks and businesses, customization is critical.

How we enable customized card issuance?

Issuing visually attractive and customized payment cards are non-negotiable to gain consumer loyalty and brand recall. We at M2P understand how imperative it is for card issuing companies and banks to deliver innovatively designed, and customized payment cards.

That’s why we co-create white-labeled and co-branded card issuance and personalization solutions for banks, NBFCs, and online businesses. Here’s how we help our client partners issue and manage customized payment cards for their customers.

By fusing business requirements, customer expectations, and innovation, we deliver white-labeled and co-branded card designs that speak to the end customer. Our full-fledged, mobile-first, customizable API stack enables hassle-free onboarding and the Know Your Customer (KYC) process. We also deliver limit configuration, inbuilt security and compliance, and end-to-end support from design to dispatch.

We drastically expedite card issuance time and businesses can go to market with customized cards within days. Our cards are PCI DSS, ISO 27001, and AICPA SOC 2 compliant with centralized security updates, monitoring, patching, and remediation features. Our in-house token generation platform delivers network-branded tokenization solutions that manage the token life cycle.

Leveraging our vast experience in issuing cards worldwide, we’ve put together a checklist you need to tick off before designing payment cards.

Here you go.

Tick off the card design checklist

✔️Fix the print-specific CYAN, MAGENTA, YELLOW, and KEY (CMYK) color model, to get the right colors on the card.

✔️The position of the bank logo/name should be fixed as per the issuing bank’s choice.

✔️Make sure that no elements are placed behind the EMV chip area.

✔️Use Sans Serif font for card numbers, validity date, and cardholder name.

✔️Standard size and alignment must be followed for hologram, magnetic stripe, card network logo, and EMV chip.

✔️Stick to the type of design your client prefers, be it abstract, conceptual, or logo-based designs.

The overall look of the card should be monitored and optimized keenly, without leaving any gap in the design front. But you can also have some fun and play around with the position and alignment of elements that are not expected to follow fixed norms. But ensure you are in line with the client’s requirements.

The purpose of every card differs, that is why designers should bring out the right emotions through the right design.

So, what are you waiting for?

Go ahead and design customized payment cards for your customers.

Need help? Want to know more about designing payment cards across card networks? Or need in-depth network-specific guidelines for design?

Write to us at business@m2pfintech.com

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