Elan: Redefining How To Reach Existing And Potential Cardmembers

When the pandemic hit, Elan recognized the need to help its 1,300+ banking partners adapt and adjust so they could better serve their own customers. SVP and GM John Owens breaks down how the firm has helped its partners deliver an improved experience, including “modernized device optimization, improved data validation, and streamlined real-time acquisition, onboarding and servicing processes.”

The following is an excerpt from What Did You Change?, contributed by John Owens, senior vice president and general manager of Elan Financial Services.

By April, Elan and the rest of our industry knew with clarity that the severity and duration of the COVID pandemic would require a fundamental shift in our approach to development. We knew we had a responsibility to our 1,300+ financial institution partners to stay ahead of anticipated changes in both acquisition and servicing capabilities.

This was a unique challenge, as we were also adapting to work-from-home and safety protocols and, like everyone, already had a full development queue. We knew we had to pivot and act quickly to develop digital tools to enable self-servicing for our existing customers, while also increasing our focus on driving frictionless access to credit card applications for new customers.

We took a hard look at our development pipeline, prioritizing — and incrementally investing in — technologies that allowed customers to be more self-reliant (as 80 percent of our branch distribution base had closed).

From a servicing standpoint, we quickly implemented forbearance programs that allowed forgiveness of fees, interest and late payment penalties for customers impacted by COVID. In addition, we developed an array of new DIY servicing capabilities, including enhanced functionality to facilitate payments, report fraud and send past-due notifications. We also offered authentication mechanisms coupled with DIY  assistance tools for making account changes. In addition, we implemented several fraud detection enhancements that we deemed critical amid customers’ increased eCommerce spending.

From an acquisition and onboarding standpoint, we accelerated our overall emphasis on allowing customers to seamlessly apply for credit in the context of widespread branch closures. Examples include:

  • Elan doubled down on our text- to-apply functionality, which allows applicants to text a unique short code, visit a URL or simply scan a barcode to apply for a credit product from their mobile device. This channel has seen exponential growth since March 2020, partially driven by an increased reliance on drive-up windows, where the technology works very well.
  • We enhanced our capabilities around pre-filled credit card applications, leveraging our financial institution partners’ data.
  • Elan introduced the ability to instantly provision new and existing card credentials into digital wallets, beginning with our partnership with PayPal, and we are now working with other key industry providers and card-on-file merchants.

Elan’s investments will help our partners better serve their cardmembers through an improved user experience that includes modernized device optimization, improved data validation, and streamlined real-time acquisition, onboarding and servicing processes.