Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託), a banking arm of the nation's ninth-biggest financial holding company in terms of total assets, yesterday launched integrated-circuit (IC) cash-withdrawal cards, replacing the traditional magnetic-strip products.
This is in line with the government's requirement for banks to offer more secure chip-embedded plastic currency that can effectively prevent card fraud.
"In the first stage, we plan to issue 890,000 chip-embedded cards by year-end, which combine automated-teller machine (ATM) and debit functions," Chinatrust chairman Jeffrey Koo (辜仲諒) said at a press conference yesterday.
This would mean nearly a third of its active ATM cardholders would benefit from the government policy this year.
"Although we cannot complete the IC card conversion task by the end of this year as the authorities have formerly required, Chinatrust has taken a quicker step compared with other banks," Koo said.
The Bureau of Monetary Affairs under the Financial Supervisory Commission originally demanded that the nation's 65.8 million magnetic cards currently in circulation be upgraded this year, but financial institutions' slower-than-expected progress has prompted the bureau to postpone the deadline.
Jong Huey-jen (鍾慧貞), deputy director general of the bureau, said earlier this week that the schedule would definitely be lengthened due to a short supply of chips, although 90 percent of the nation's 20,472 ATM machines have been modified to read chip cards.
As for when the magnetic cards will be eliminated from the market, Jong said it will be decided by the Bankers' Association (銀行公會).