Visa Inc. is trying a new gambit offset consumers' irritation with hassles surrounding the messy EMV chip-card migration—it's introducing a winsome young woman to console the masses.
The San Francisco-based card network has recruited Stefanie O'Connell, a 30-year-old “Gen Y” advocate and blogger who's gained fame with her book, “The Broke and Beautiful Life,” which emphasizes practical attitudes toward handling money. Visa asked O'Connell to explain the benefits of EMV chip security to the public in a media tour beginning this week.
Visa will introduce O'Connell at an event in New York on Sept. 29, the eve of the one-year anniversary of the EMV counterfeit card liability shift. The latest data from Visa suggests that nearly 1.5 million U.S. merchants have activated chip acceptance at payment terminals, which the card network hails as “tremendous progress.”
Industry experts note that less than a third of all merchant locations have adopted the chip and progress is stagnating in some vertical markets, such as restaurants, where streamlined solutions for replacing existing pay-at-the-table approaches have not caught on broadly.
Even merchants that have completed the migration continue to complain of high rates of chargebacks on disputed transactions.
O'Connell, a former camp counselor and actress who is now a “full-time entrepreneur” will help educate consumers about the benefits and security of chip card technology “helping to bust myths” around chip card transactions, according to a Sept. 27 Visa statement.
Counterfeit card fraud at chip-activated merchants fell by 47% in May 2016 compared with the same period a year ago, Visa said.