It will become more difficult for fraudsters to have unauthorised access to one’s bank account or use a stolen plastic card.

This will be possible after commercial banks migrate from the magnetic strip ATM cards to the ones that use chip technology.

The Kenyan Bankers Association (KBA) in partnership with the Central Bank on Thursday announced a road map that will see all commercial banks switch to the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) Chip and PIN technology.

This transition is to happen by end of September 2013, cutting down incidences of ATM and card frauds by almost 10 fold. By meeting global standards for credit and debit card payments, Kenyan banks will be able to materially deal with the ATM theft.

While ATM theft cases are on the rise, the banking industry has kept silent and therefore information about its extent is scanty. What this has done is discourage the public from signing up for plastic money.

EMV is a joint effort between leading card operators Europay, MasterCard and Visa and was developed to ensure security of the card systems and ease of payment globally.

“ATMs remain the most convenient way for bank customers to access their money,” said Habil Olaka, KBA Chief Executive Officer.

Commercial banks have been working to make cards safer for their customers with several players already using chip technology on their plastic products.

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that there were more than 10.7 million ATMs, credit and debit cards in circulation by end of 2012, representing a 6 per cent increase over the previous year.

The value of all ATM transactions alone during the same period in 2012 was Sh 156,891 million, up from Sh 140,825 million in 2011.

Olaka said KBA is working with its member banks to migrate their ATM machines and credit and debit cards to the Chip and PIN technology by the end of the third quarter of this year.

Via Standard Newspaper