With the looming liability shift in the United States, EMV is on every payment card issuer’s mind, though with the challenge comes opportunities, such as bolstering customer relationships.

For the last 12 to 18 months, there has been a new sense of urgency in the market for issuers to upgrade their data infrastructure, redesign cards, determine which card manufacturer and card will be used, and begin the daunting task of a wholesale reissue of cards to their customer base.

There are a number of things that financial institutions should do to match the EMV migration to a customer loyalty strategy.

Educate, Educate, Educate: EMV chip cards are more secure than magnetic-stripe cards—usage in other regions has proven this. But most consumers are unaware of the benefits that come with this more secure payment method and will be unfamiliar with its use.

Instead of the traditional swipe of a magnetic stripe card, consumers must use their chip cards at new point-of-sale terminals. They will need education on this process (in addition to education about the added layers of security that EMV chip cards provide).

Banks that have been successful in the transition to EMV and communicating effectively with their customers have not relied on just a single communication channel, but incorporated information in all communications channels (in-branch, web, mobile, mailers, etc.).

Provide an Instant Card Replacement Option: There has been a growing trend of instant card issuance in the U.S. banking community.

This capability provides financial institutions with the ability to encourage customers to physically come to the bank branch and receive their new fully personalized EMV card, which also allows the bank to then educate them on all of the features that come with the new chip card.

We’ve found that consumers who have had this experience with a bank tend to have more transactions and spending on this instantly issued card (up to 100 additional transactions per year). This personal touch goes a long way to building loyalty with financial institution’s customer base.

Do Not Wait to Make Card Decisions: By this point, most banks have already started issuing EMV cards. For those still working on their transition in infrastructure and card portfolios, it is important to secure a few very critical items. This includes determining which type of card will be used and from which card manufacturer; what type of payment network profile will be used (online, offline, credit, debit, etc.); EMV key management; and issuance script. Once banks make these decisions, it is critical to secure both base plastics from the card manufacturer and a slot in their personalization queue.

These recommendations are just a few key steps to help financial organizations be successful through this EMV transition. We can also learn from other countries that have already migrated to this payment infrastructure.

The United States is the last of the G20 countries to adopt EMV—and  we’ve seen a significant amount of discussion focused on what impact EMV adoption will have on our payments infrastructure. But, as this discussion—and migration—progresses and banks and retailers continue to migrate to EMV, they cannot lose sight of the impact it, too, will have on consumers. Being a trusted partner to your customers will only benefit financial organizations in the long run. Remember to keep the consumer top-of-mind and it will inevitably have a positive impact on your bottom line.

Ray Wizbowski is vice president of the financial vertical for Entrust Datacard.