Visa this week began allowing the issuance of new unembossed credit and debit cards, which could expand the use of more personalized and instant-issuance card services while reducing production costs for institutions.

The decision by Visa, which has allowed unembossed prepaid cards since 2005, comes after a series of pilots with about a dozen U.S. institutions, including Commerce Bancshares, Inc., TD Banknorth and United Heritage Credit Union.

Unembossed cards don’t include raised lettering, and don’t require lengthy, offsite production that sends cards to customers through the mail – in often tell-tale, minimally printed envelopes that advertise to thieves, “new card inside.”

“Being able to instantly provide members with Visa cards has helped us drive activation, usage and loyalty while reducing costs,” said Michael Ver Schuur, executive vice president at United Heritage Credit Union, in a statement through Visa.

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