Mon, Feb 27, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Old cards to face limits from Wednesday

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Starting Wednesday, magnetic-strip bank-card holders will no longer be able to conduct inter-bank transactions through automatic teller machines (ATMs), while around 1 percent -- or 650,000 -- cardholders have yet to exchange their cards for the safer integrated-circuit (IC) ones, the Bankers' Association of the ROC (銀行公會) estimates.

After Wednesday, the use of magnetic-strip bank cards will be limited to ATMs installed by the issuing banks. Fund transfers will therefore only be available among accounts at the issuing bank.

This means people having traditional bank cards issued by, for example, Union Bank of Taiwan (聯邦銀行) can only withdraw or transfer money at Union Bank's ATMs.

In contrast, IC cards can be used in each of the nation's 24,212 ATMs for trading activities. Such cards also offer a higher level of security and can be used on Internet-based ATMs.

The government mandated the shift to IC cards from magnetic-strip cards in a bid to ensure safer financial transactions and to crack down on theft with forged magnetic cards.

The association suggested that consumers who have not exchanged their old cards for IC cards contact their banks to obtain the new cards as soon as possible.

Since each bank has its own operating procedure for exchanging the cards, some may take just minutes to swap to a new card, while others may require as long as 10 days.

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