Citi’s New Replacement Card Tracker Takes Uncertainty Out of the New Card

December 1, 2016         By: Steven Anderson

citi_img1Anyone who’s ever managed to lose their wallet before knows what kind of a heart-wrenching hassle it can actually be. Having to replace lost identification can be bad enough, but replacing payment cards can be even worse. Citi, however, is set to make it easier with its new replacement card delivery tracker.

Set up November 29, anyone with a Citi card in the United States can track a replacement card’s delivery in real time, whether it’s replacing an expired card or getting an upgrade to a Europay / Mastercard / Visa (EMV) card or any other such event. Customers will even be able to activate the card in question through the tracking tool once it’s actually arrived in their custody.

This represents, reports note, the first such effort from a major card issuer, which might well give it an advantage over other issuers in the market. The bank is also well-known for other mobile payments initiatives like Citi Pay, and a recent partnership with Mastercard gave Citi Pay access to several new countries that otherwise might not have been able to get in.

While it’s true that this is a great service to have on hand in case it’s ever actually needed, it’s worth wondering just how often such a service is actually needed to begin with. Has Citi really put together an offering worth paying attention to, or was this just a way to snag a couple news cycles’ worth of earned media access? It’s certainly the kind of that’s worth talking about—a first-of-its-kind service in a major issuer is inherently newsworthy—but will this do any more than let Citi make a brief splash in the market and maybe get a couple happy customers out of the deal?

This might be one of those circumstances where it’s better to have something and not need it than need it and not have it, and Citi’s real time replacement card tracker is certainly good to have around, even if almost no one needs it and no one wants to have to use it.