Standard Chartered Zimbabwe said it would begin replacing customers’ debit cards with those equipped with microchip technology. Customers of the bank have been asked to get the newer chip and PIN cards which are more secure before the 15th of May.
Standard Chartered issued a statement saying :
“Please be advised that due to a card upgrade, with effect from the 15th of May 2017, all magnetic strip debit cards will be phased out and will therefore no longer be able to transact on the ATM, Internet and Point of Sale (POS). Kindly collect and activate your new chip and PIN card before the 15th of May to avoid being inconvenienced.”
By 2020 million of Zimbabweans will have made the switch from the old magnetic strip cards. That 50-year-old technology, has been replaced in most of world, remains on the back of Zim cards and can be easily copied by thieves, leaving people vulnerable to fraud.
Chip cards create a unique code for each transaction, making customers’ personal information harder to steal. The card is inserted into a slot, rather than swiped, and the transaction is authenticated with a four-digit PIN or the customer’s signature.
While the signature is considered less safe than the pine, and used regularly in America, Australia and Canada, Standard Chartered Zimbabwe is among the many few banks to opt to use the PIN.
This entire switch is a massive undertaking. The upgrade will see thousands of individual merchants need to upgrade their equipment to allow for chip transactions instead of “swipe-and-sign” ones.
Chip cards are also harder to duplicate, although it’s not unheard of. Overall, the chip cards are more secure than magnetic cards, which are weak because once thieves get a copy of your credit card information, it can be quickly copied onto forged cards.