Global payments technology firm, Visa today launched a card security week campaign in Kenya to raise awareness amongst cardholders on the security features found within the EMV chip card as well as the benefits of using your Visa card for everyday spend.
“Fear of fraud remains one of the major barriers to card usage in Kenya and many other markets. We believe that greater awareness of the security measures in place as well as the advancements made in card security will enable consumers to comfortably enjoy the convenience of using their cards for everyday spend,” said Visa General Manager, Southern and East Africa, Jabu Basopo.
The plastic cards are loaded with security features to protect customers and minimize fraud and both Visa and bank systems run complementary anti-fraud measures too.
“Although tiny, the square microchip embedded in chip-enabled type of cards is one of the most powerful weapons against fraud. The microchip is virtually impossible to duplicate and powerful encryption prevents unauthorized access to information stored on it, making electronic payments safer than ever before,” said Basopo.
As opposed to magnetic stripe technology, a chip is difficult to crack. An important aspect of EMV is its use of dynamic data. Each transaction carries a unique ‘stamp’, which prevents the transaction data from being fraudulently reused, even if the data or the card is stolen. This saves banks and consumers from losing money through fraud.
Other security features found in the EMV chip card include the Card Verification Value (CVV), which is a set of three numbers printed on the back of the card either alone or as the final three numbers in a long string of digits. The CVV is never stored in the chip or magnetic stripe and assists in authenticating card-not-present payments, such as those performed online. Entering the CVV number manually proves that you are physically in possession of the card inhibiting fraudsters who have obtained your account information.
Furthermore, the signature panel on the back of the Visa card has a tamper-proof design. This means that if someone tries to erase the existing signature, the word “VOID” will appear. The Visa dove hologram found on the back the card also protects consumers from fraud. Many counterfeit cards contain a one-dimensional image printed on a foil sticker. However, the true dove hologram should appear three dimensional and moves when the card is tilted back and forth.
Visa also performs real-time fraud monitoring. This means that every time a consumer uses his or her card, the transaction is checked for unusual activity on the VisaNet system.
There are over 3.4 billion EMV payment cards in circulation worldwide as reported by EMVCo. in May 2015. The use of plastic cards in Kenya has been on a steady rise with consumers shifting from cash and cheques. There has been a notable increase in the usage of cards at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and at Point of Sale (POS terminals).
“Using debit cards for everyday purchases offers greater security, control and convenience compared to cash; it is also one way of ensuring personal finances are managed effectively with minimal costs for the cardholder,” Basopo added.
By championing safe financial transactions, Visa has undertaken to align its business strategy with Vision 2030, an initiative that aims to transform Kenya into a middle-income country by 2030 through six priority sectors including financial services.
Some of the consumer tips include never to share or write down or save your PIN. Always cover the keypad at an ATM or a retailer with one hand to stop people observing your PIN – stop the ‘shoulder surfers’ and walk away from an ATM if you feel unsafe & avoid using ATMs at night, particularly in remote areas and never allow people to distract you or offer to help you at an ATM.