Ubank migrates to EMV chip cards to boost customer security

Media Release
Johannesburg, 12 June 2014 – Ubank has adopted the EMV chip smartcard technology to offer mine workers and mining communities improved encrypted card security and convenience as well as consolidate its position as the biggest bank in South African mining. Although the conversion exercise has only just commenced, Ubank and their account holders are already bearing the fruits thereof.

Customers have until 31 August 2014 to exchange their magnetic stripe cards free of charge, thereafter; it will cost R55 per replacement card. Customers who open new accounts during this period will also receive the new EMV chip smartcard for free. The shredding of existing magnetic stripe cards will run concurrently with the distribution of the new chip cards.

“The majority of our customer base tends to be situated in remote and rural communities and as such innovative technological advances like this are always welcomed as they not only enhance their banking experience, but also saves them money,” says Ubank CEO, Luthando Vutula.

From its beginnings in the early 1970’s offering basic banking services to miners and the mining community, Ubank has always used the most practical methods to service customers while also remaining aware of shifts in technology.

According to Vutula, “The reality is that we are probably South Africa’s only bank that still issues bank savings books due to the unique character of our customer base. It is because of this uniqueness that we are still able to respond to changing technological environment and simultaneously boost the security of our customers’ money.”

Luthando continues, “Our customer facing personnel are also trained to always empower customers about the importance of protecting their cards and pin numbers and to keep their pin number secret and always plan their transactions on their debit cards as this will minimise their bank charges.”

The EMV chip technology in the new ATM cards also protects customers from possible fraud such as card cloning and “skimming”. 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. Ubank is following global banking trends in shifting from magnetic strip technology to the more secure EMV chip technology.

Highlighting the EMV cards security features Luthando says, “The difference between the two technologies is that the information in the magnetic strip is static and permanent, and hence, easy to copy, while the EMV chip is more dynamic. Every time you use it, there’s an algorithm being computed, which protects our customers’ accounts,” he said. He concluded Ubank was on track to complete the new card rollout by the end August this year.


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