“Good morning, Mr. Biggins and welcome to Northern Citizens Bank and Trust Bank. How may I help you?” “Hi, um, good morning. I’ve just got a new bank card in the mail and it’s got a sticker on it that won’t come off. Could you help me?” “Certainly Mr. Biggins. What seems to be the trouble?” “Well, I’ve followed the instructions, called the number to activate the card but I can’t seem to get the sticker off.” “Hmm, well, that’s a little strange. Didn’t it just peel off?” “Yes, I got the paper sticker with the writing off, but I can’t get the other one off.” “Okaaay. Usually we only mail cards out with a single sticker with the number you call for activation. What does this other sticker look like?” “Well, it’s metallic. Looks a bit like the ones you get on scratch cards. You know - you scrape it off to get the number underneath…” “Well that is very unusual. I don’t believe we’re partnering with any lottery companies. Let me check with my supervisor.”  

*THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA FOR FIVE MINUTES*

  “Hello, Mr. Biggins. Sorry about the delay. I’ve spoken to my supervisor and she thinks you might be referring to the EMV chip on your new card. Is it to the left side on the front and gold, about the size of your fingernail?” “Yes, that’s the one. I couldn’t get it off by peeling it, but I think I have managed to get it out with a screwdriver just now while I was waiting…”  

*SOUND OF FOREHEAD MASHING KEYBOARD REPEATEDLY*

  So, this improbable but actually quite possible scenario is playing out as we speak. In our most recent report on EMV cardholder awareness, we asked US cardholders three questions…

  • Does your card have a chip on it (showing a picture of an EMV chip)?
  • Did you bank communicate what the chip is for?
  • If so, how?

The results were alarming - awareness of the purpose of the “gold sticker” varied by institution from as high as 80% to as low as 35%. And the banks with the lowest awareness had one thing in common - reliance on the info mailed along with the new card as the primary and sometimes near exclusive means of EMV education. What was also shocking was what was being left on the table by not communicating the strength of EMV in enhancing perceptions of your bank brand, and well beyond expected rises in perceptions around security and trust. EMV cardholders perceive their primary FI to be significantly more “innovative”, “technologically advanced”, “global” and “a leader in the banking industry” than non EMV cardholders. Atttibutes that, by the way, we have shown attract and retain the most profitable bank customers - the “Moneyhawks”.    So, that’s the opportunity that is being squandered by FIs that aren’t effectively communicating EMV to their cardholders - there is no perception lift if your customer doesn’t know what the gold sticker is for. FIs - this isn’t “Field of Dreams”. You can’t just build it and they’ll come.