Mon, Jan 16, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Bank customers urged to upgrade to IC cards by March

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

As inter-bank transactions through automatic teller machines (ATMs) using conventional magnetic-strip cards will be discontinued in March, the nation's financial regulator yesterday urged cardholders to upgrade their old cards to more secure integrated-circuit (IC) cards.

Beginning on March 1, magnetic-strip cardholders will be limited to using their own bank's ATMs. All inter-bank trading activities using magnetic-strip cards, including withdrawing and transferring money, will be halted, the Financial Supervisory Commission said in a statement released yesterday.

At the end of last year, more than 34 million out of some 65 million ATM cards in circulation had been upgraded to IC cards, the government-funded Financial Information Service Co (財金公司), which is helping promote the card-conversion project, said last week.

The government mandated the shift in order to ensure safer financial transactions and to crack down on theft using forged magnetic-strip cards. The government has been promoting IC cards since 2003.

Last September, the Bankers Association of the ROC (銀行公會) decided to halt inter-bank transactions using magnetic-strip cards by the end of last year. But due to delays in replacing old cards, the regulator pushed forward the deadline to March 1 this year.

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