There aren't too many people who can see their impact on the world every time they buy something.
"Each time I’m asked to insert my card instead of swipe, I’m reminded of all the incredible work it’s taken, by Visa and our partners, to get that powerful little chip in consumers’ wallets," said Stephanie Ericksen, vice president of risk products and business intelligence for Visa.
Ericksen is one of the "EMV people," part of the card network-driven push to get the entire globe dipping instead of swiping. EMV cards began deploying in the U.S. market only in recent years, but the chip-based cards have been part of Ericksen's world for two decades.
She was part of the shift from its earliest phases, helping organize the launch of the first Visa EMV cards in the U.K. and Japan in the mid-1990s, developing the roadmap for chip adoption in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America, negotiating intellectual property and technology contracts with major manufacturers, and educating issuers, acquirers, merchants and consumers on the power of chip technology to reduce fraud. "All of that work culminated in the months leading up to the [U.S.] liability shift in October last year," Ericksen said.
It's also made her a TV star, participating in more than 100 television and radio interviews, over 75 print and online media interviews, and testifying before Congress at a hearing of the House Small Business Committee. Ericksen also met with hundreds of small business owners across the country, helping explain to them the benefits of accepting chip payments on a 20-city education roadshow.
The work is still ongoing. Over time, many merchants began to see the Oct. 1 liability shift as less of a deadline and more of a starting point.
"Although 2015 marked the official launch of chip technology in the U.S., this year we expect a significant pickup in adoption," Ericksen said. "With increased usage, we should start to see the benefits of chip start to pay off in the form of declining counterfeit fraud. At the same time, we must continue to fortify our defenses against fraud in other channels, especially e-commerce."
Ericksen also advocates for gender diversity, viewing female role models as important examples for younger women. She recently participated in the MAKERS 2016 conference, which recognizes women across many sectors and industries.
"I had the chance to connect with inspiring and influential women, from icons like Gloria Steinem to U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios, who is working tirelessly to bring a woman on U.S. currency by 2020. It’s enlightening to hear how these incredible women got to where they are today," Ericksen said.