Magnetic card cancellation delay planned

Magnetic card cancellation delay planned

The Thai Bankers' Association (TBA) plans to seek the central bank's approval to put off the regulator's deadline to cancel the use of magnetic-stripe ATM and debit cards until early next year from the end of this year.

The TBA will propose the Bank of Thailand push the cancellation to Jan 15, 2020, as compliance by year-end could affect magnetic-stripe cardholders the volume of banking transactions during that period is always highest, said TBA chairman Predee Daochai.

The central bank's requirement calls for debit and ATM cards issued from May 16, 2017 to have chip-embedded technology with enhanced security features. Magnetic-stripe cards are valid until Dec 31, 2019.

Facilitating the migration from a cash-based society to a cashless society under the central bank's e-payment policy is another reason for shifting to chip-enabled cards.

Despite over two years passing since the central bank announced the moves, some cardholders continue to use ATM and debit cards that do not have chip technology.

"Banks should encourage consumers and offer them promotional campaigns again to ensure that magnetic ATM and debit cardholders shift to chip-embedded cards. The chip cards will benefit customers by providing higher security and better features that can keep up with technological upgrades," he said.

The industry's card fraud problem has declined significantly after the push to chip-embedded cards, he said, adding that greater consumer awareness about security has also contributed to the reduction of fraud.

The TBA has called for existing holders of cards with magnetic technology to migrate to chip-embedded cards to improve the country's overall card business.

Mr Predee, who is also a co-president at Kasikornbank (KBank), said his bank has total 13 million ATM and debit cards, of which around 1.4 million use magnetic-stripe technology.

KBank's magnetic-stripe ATM and debit cards numbered 3.2 million at the end of 2018. Marketing, promotional campaigns and fee charge waivers have encouraged the switch to chip cards.

KBank, the country's second largest lender by assets, estimates 335,634 of magnetic-stripe cards are due to expire this year, 1.02 million next year and another 992,713 cards in 2021.

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