Bank customers will get a reprieve from the current weekslong delay in receiving customized debit cards, if a new technology introduced by First Tennessee Bank takes hold in the Chattanooga market.

Advances in printing technology now allow First Tennessee customers at more than 170 bank branches to walk in, choose from a catalog of nearly 60 customized designs and walk out with a new debit card the same day, officials say.

Except for a few credit unions, most banks don't currently offer the ability for customers to get their card right away. Instead, banks typically process and print the cards at a central location and mail them to a customer's address, usually with a personal identification number and paper checks shipped separately.

"It's never been something that's been widely adopted for cost reasons," said Dondi Black, who oversees the bank's debit card operations. "But the technology has actually evolved considerably in the space, and that made it a good time for us to enter into that."

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