NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 1- Equity Bank has stepped up security measures for all its cardholders by installing Europay-Mastercard-VISA (EMV) Technology in all its Automated Teller Machines (ATM).
The EMV card contains a small computer chip, which not only gives them greater memory capacity, but also improves security for consumers by making it nearly impossible for unscrupulous people to decode or tamper with.
The chip is capable of securely storing data that uniquely identifies the card and the cardholder, putting an end to misuse through loss, stolen and counterfeit cards.
Speaking during the signing of the partnership with EMV Visa Card Equity Bank, Chief executive Dr James Mwangi said the new EMV card technology would enhance the protection of cardholders from fraudulent card activity and substantially reduce the percentage of fraud in the country.
“The chip card is impossible to copy and is tamper proof, as EMV-chip cards are widely known as one of the best and most cost effective solutions available to mitigate fraud. Ultimately, this new technology will drastically reduce fraud activity in the banks outlets,” Dr Mwangi said.
He said this allows the Bank to give assurance to both cardholders and retailers that their transactions are legitimate.
With the installation of the new technology, the bank will process and manage Visa cards with the EMV chip at all Equity Bank outlets and Points of Sales (POS) seamlessly by accepting card and pin, without the need for customers signing on receipts as is the case now.
Dr Mwangi said card security was a big issue worldwide that could no longer be ignored, hence the need by the bank to install new security standards practiced worldwide to protect its customers from unscrupulous people.
Just three weeks ago, a man of Russian origin, was arrested in Nairobi after he was found withdrawing money from an ATM while in possession of 107 fake bankcards. According to the Banking Fraud department, an average of Sh100 million is stolen every month in fraud-related cases across the country.
In December alone, a total of Sh130 million was stolen in multiple fraud cases reported in banks and other financial institutions countrywide.
Visa Card Regional Manager Victor Ndlovu said the installation of the system would enable the bank’s customers to transact safely, efficiently and reliably.
“The Visa EMV card allows the bank to protect itself, its customers and merchants where POS terminals are installed against unscrupulous fraud and drastically reduce fraudulent activity,” Mr Ndlovu said.
The installation of the EMV technology is supported by the Equity Bank’s new Card Management System recently installed by the OpenWay Group of Belgium, designed for multi-institution and multi-currency transaction processing, with the ability to handle over 60 million cards with speed performance of 180,000 transactions per minute.