Operation Chip & Dip: Energizing Staff to Act as Change Champions

Colin Miley, ABC / Coast Capital Savings Credit Union / Surrey, Canada

Coast Capital Savings (CCS) is Canada’s second largest credit union, with 50 branches and more than 475,000 members across Vancouver Island, Greater Vancouver, and the Lower Mainland regions of British Columbia. Like many Canadian financial institutions, CCS saw a dramatic rise in the incidence of debit card–related fraud or “skimming” from 2008–2011. Although insured against such losses, the sudden and continual increase in fraud losses presented severe reputational, customer experience, and insurance premium cost risks to the organization. Curbing debit card fraud became among the organization’s highest priorities in 2010.

One of the most effective tools in reducing debit card fraud is the microchip-enabled card, or chip card for short. Chip cards encode customer information in such a way that fraudsters have been unable to crack to date, and when combined with Chip & PIN point-of-sale technology used by vendors, chip cards have proved a successful measure in foiling attempted fraud. This added security is beneficial to card users and card providers alike, and as part of a larger plan to stem card-related fraud, CCS committed to issuing chip cards to all active debit card users before the end of 2011. It was an ambitious undertaking that made CCS one of the first Canadian financial institutions to move entirely to chip debit cards.

The project plan included issuing new chip debit cards to staff before other customers. This was done to prepare staff for the chip card processes and test the activation systems prior to the larger customer issuance. Staff cards were twice delayed due to technical issues—first in late 2010 and then again in early 2011. After considering different options to reengage staff prior to the card issuance,