Transforming Into a Leader of International Card Payments
Cards per Inhabitant
Avg. Monthly Transactions per Inhabitant
Avg. Annual Spend per Card
Annual Value of Card Transactions
Card Payments vs. Total Payments
Cash transactions continue to decline in Dutch markets. Consumers in the Netherlands strongly favor using debit cards versus credit cards or cash. 96% of all payments are completed using a debit card versus a credit card. This signals an increased demand for digital payment options.
Together with ACI, Rabobank modernized its debit and credit card systems into one solution using the capabilities available through ACI Issuing. This allows the bank to authorize, switch and process customers’ transactions, finalize clearing and settlements, plus manage all chargebacks and disputes.
ACI and Rabobank used three phases to complete this transformation:
- Switching and transaction processing modernization
- Credit card issuing transformation
- Debit card issuing transformation
Rabobank’s transformation project started with the Transaction Processing Infrastructure Renewal (aka TAPIR). Although there was a risk of missing out on unique selling points, Rabobank executives felt that the uniqueness would come by offering new standard services faster than the competition.
The main solution used for this project was BASE24-eps for switching, authentication and authorization on real-time balance and real-time transaction processing together with other ACI solutions, such as ACI Interchange for the clearing and settlement, ACI Automated Dispute Manager for disputes and ACI Payments Monitoring for dashboarding, alerting and monitoring.
The first decision was to create a new transaction processing environment next to the existing one, so both solutions were able to run in parallel and gradually migrate transactions to the new system.
The TAPIR project started in 2014. Millions of accounts and cardholders are dependent on absolute certainty their retail payments go through, every second of the day without a second of downtime, so timing was critical. In 2016, the first transactions were migrated, and by 2017, all transaction flows were running through the new system:
- Rabobank is now able to add schemes and select both national and international central infrastructures
- Additional business case benefits include increased speed to market, standardization, ability to move to Linux and public cloud, and more
Rabobank had a relatively small credit card portfolio and had outsourced that business to an external party. This contract was ending, so a replacement solution had to be found within one year. Bringing it back in house was the best option because it offered:
- Considerable cost savings using the ACI packaged solutions
- Easier access to card transactions and controls for the credit cardholders
- Risk-based analysis using integral customer data
- Fraud management and dispute management
- The introduction of tokenization products for credit and debit
- Development of new credit card products and features
- Having a low-limit credit card with the ability to increase the spending limit directly out of the current account
In addition to these benefits, Rabobank wanted to replace the Maestro debit card with the Mastercard and Visa debit cards due to their higher acceptance rates worldwide. This required a credit card management and transaction processing setup. The perfect stepstone to moving Rabobank closer to their desired goals.
Rabobank only offers charge cards that need to be paid off fully by the end of each month. They made the decision not to move the full credit card account over, but rather to issue a brand-new account and a new credit card. This decision would have an impact on its clients, but Rabobank felt this was an acceptable advantage for end users.
Given the very limited timelines for implementation and replacement, the project was a complete success:
- The process was transparent to the end user, except for the replacement of the physical card
- The modernization generated a major cost savings for Rabobank’s credit card processing arm
- Rabobank created a direct connection with Mastercard to reduce the processing cost per transaction, especially cross-border transactions
The credit card project allowed Rabobank to move into the final phase: replacing their debit card portfolio. They had an in-house management system but it blocked innovation. A primary account number debit account (PANDA) was created to replace the Maestro debit card solution. Moving from Dutch PAN to the real PAN would prepare Rabobank for increasing demand from its consumers. This project focused on specific product settings that needed to be implemented around debit card payments versus new technology being introduced.
Rabobank expanded the existing ACI Issuer deployed solution to activate the debit card management capabilities and move from an in-house proprietary solution. The bank also chose to use any payment type support, optimized consumer experience, parameters-based configuration, consumer payments flexibility, advanced analytics and reporting, loyalty and alternative financing, and enhanced customer segmentation.
In 2021, the PANDA project began to replace all Maestro debit cards with Mastercard and Visa debit cards. Rabobank’s next goal is to offer new debit card solutions and expand into other digital payment possibilities by early 2023.
As a result of modernizing, the bank knew they would obtain several benefits such as cost reduction, improved time to market and agility. This allows the bank to:
- Identify synergies and reduce costs
- Create new products and services within weeks or months versus years
- Generate new initiatives around token and eCommerce payments, such as M4M and Click-to-Pay
In less than a decade, Rabobank has become a leader in the Dutch card payments market and at the forefront of international developments on a global scale.