CARDS & PAYMENTS | Contributed Content, Singapore
Cyril Villemin

How Asian banks can migrate efficiently to EMV chip-based cards


Those of us who closely follow developments in the banking industry would know that the Association of Banks Singapore mandated last year that banks must implement chip-based technology in ATM and debit Cards by 2014. It is a move designed to protect the end-user and retain confidence in the banking system.

However, this move will require infrastructural changes to the current ATM and NETS point-of-sale (POS) networks. By now, most banks have started discussions on how to migrate their infrastructure and the entire exercise will be a key focus for financial institutions throughout this year.

But what are some of the challenges which can be expected for such a project? For one, the decision on which chip technology to adopt could be a potential bottleneck. The other challenge could come in the form of pre-deployment testing of the EMV chip cards, which requires hundreds of different test scripts and can be time consuming.

In addition, Singaporean banks offer the possibility of using both credit and debit functions on a card which makes any migration more complicated as the chip needs to combine both debit and credit functionalities.

That being said, EMV is a proven technology with the migration already completed in many countries. With the right project management and coordination between the various financial institutions, these obstacles will not be too difficult to overcome.

Despite the challenges listed above, the time, effort and costs involved in the migration will eventually see a return on investment for banks over time. In the short term, banks will see a quick and immediate reduction in the number of fraud cases, improving the bank’s reputation, brand equity and increase the level of trust between consumers and their banks.

In the long term, EMV cards allow banks to introduce other forms of payments such as multi-function cards for transportation, contactless payment that bring speed and convenience to users for low value payments, or even a virtual card in a mobile device via mobile near field communication (NFC).

These create new revenue streams for banks and ensure that their brand remains top of wallet.

These benefits clearly explain why chip-based technology is fast becoming the preferred choice for card security across Europe and increasingly in Asia.

As the industry leader in EMV migration projects globally, Gemalto’s strongly advocates that financial institutions around the world push for the migration of their banking card security onto the EMV chip.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Asian Banking & Finance. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Cyril Villemin

Cyril Villemin

Cyril Villemin is a Marketing Director at Secure Transactions-Gemalto.

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