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Ubank embraces EMV chip cards

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Ubank, a financial services provider primarily within the gold and platinum mining communities, has adopted the EMV chip smartcard technology to offer mine workers and mining communities improved encrypted card security and convenience.

The EMV chip technology protects consumers from possible fraud such as card cloning and skimming says Ubank.

In a statement, Ubank says it is following global trends in shifting from magnetic strip technology to more secure EMV chip technology.

Emphasising the EMV cards security features, Luthando Vutula, CEO of Ubank, says: "The difference between the magnetic strip and EMV chip technology is that information in the magnetic strip is static and permanent, therefore easy to copy, while the EMV chip is more dynamic."

He adds that there is an algorithm being computed every time someone uses the EMV chip card, which protects customers' accounts.

Customers have until 31 August 2014 to exchange their magnetic strip cards free of charge, thereafter; it will cost R55 per replacement card. It adds that customers who open new accounts during this period will receive the new EMV chip smartcard free.

In addition, the shredding of existing magnetic strip cards will run concurrently with the distribution of the new chip cards.

Vutula points out that Ubank is probably the only bank in SA that is still issuing savings books. He adds that the cards will help boost the security of the bank's customers' money and minimise bank charges.

EMV is a technology developed by Europay, MasterCard and Visa and has a chip that contains information needed to use the card for payment and is protected by various security features, says Ubank.

Every EMV card contains a built-in security chip that uses a form of cryptography to verify the card, card issuer and the data stored on the card. The chip itself provides three key features: it can store information; perform processing; and provide cryptographic verification that helps protect sensitive data.

According to MasterCard, chip and PIN cards are more difficult to counterfeit than magnetic strip cards, making them a powerful fraud deterrent.

Ubank believes the new card rollout will be completed by the end of August.

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