The speedy migration of ATM machines and credit and debit cards to the global standard known as Europay, Mastercard and Visa system (EMV) compliant chip and PIN technology will significantly whittle down card fraud and white-collar crime in general, this is according to Ehouman Kassi, the Ecobank Kenya Managing Director.
Speaking during a cheque handover to winners of the final draw of Anguakia Doh na Ecobank deposit mobilization campaign, Mr Kassi said efforts by Kenyan Bankers Association and Central Bank of Kenya to facilitate the entire banking industry’s adoption of EMV, Chip and PIN technology by end of the third quarter would “go a long way in protecting customer deposits.”
With the EMV Smart Chip cards, customers will be better protected against fraud as chip cards are safer than magnetic stripe cards that most banks have been issuing in the past. “Card fraud is a challenge in most markets, so Ecobank wanted to be at the forefront in this fight against this vice, hence the early migration to EMV, Pin and Chip Technology.”
EMV is developed to ensure security of the card systems and ease of payment globally and Kenya now becomes one of the few countries in Africa making the shift to EMV compliance. “It is important to note that Ecobank rolled out the Visa Chip debit card in February 2011, making it the first bank in Kenya to adopt this technology,” said Mr Kassi.
These cards contain a microprocessor chip that uses encryption to prevent data from being replicated, it’s almost impossible to counterfeit,” said Mr Kassi. He cited a recent heist, where a worldwide gang of criminals stole $45 million in a matter of hours by hacking their way into a database of prepaid debit cards and then draining cash machines around the globe, as a sign that banks needed to increase financial data security.
The ATM remains the most convenient way for customers to access their banked cash and has thus become the target of technology survey fraudsters globally. However, Kenya has been dismally affected. Deloitte, the audit company, estimates annual losses through fraud in the region to be around $48.3 Million.
Data from Central Bank of Kenya indicates there were more than 10.7 million ATM, credit and debit cards in circulation by the end of 2012; this represented a 6 percent increase over the previous year. The number of card transactions in the country also grew tenfold in the past seven years, translating to a proportional growth in ATM frauds and card skimming.
Mr Kassi was speaking when he awarded three winners of Angukia Doh na Ecobank with a total total of Ksh2.7 million in prize money in the just ended Ecobank deposit mobilisation campaign.
Murtaza Noor Bhai and Fatma S. A. Mus—who hold a joint account, Rajnikkant Babubhai Patel and Rachel Ogembo Bonyo won Ksh1.2 million, Ksh 900,000 and 600,000 respectively in grand draw.
The draw was a culmination of a three-month campaign where a total 20 winners took home cash prizes ranging from Ksh20,000 to Ksh50,000 in previous mini draws.