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HK enhances ATM services security controls


08:23, October 20, 2012

HONG KONG, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced Friday that the Hong Kong banking industry will adopt chip-based technology to further strengthen the security of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) services.

In accordance with a circular dated June 1, 2011 issued by the HKMA, which sets out the chip card implementation details, authorized institutions (AIs) offering ATM services are expected to complete the upgrading of their ATM terminals by the end of February 2013 to support chip-based authentication.

The AIs concerned are also expected to complete the card replacement process by phases between 2014 and 2015.

As an additional step to enhance the security of using ATM services, the overseas ATM cash withdrawal capability for all ATM cards (including debit cards and credit cards) issued by AIs in Hong Kong will be pre-set as "deactivated" with effect from March 1, 2013.

This is to prevent fraudsters from withdrawing cash from a cardholder's account at ATMs outside Hong Kong using counterfeit magnetic-stripe cards with the card data obtained from card skimming.

Given this security feature, card holders are reminded to activate the overseas cash withdrawal capability before traveling, if they think they may need to withdraw cash from ATMs outside Hong Kong. They could specify an expiry date for the activation period and set an overseas ATM cash withdrawal limit that is lower than the limit for local cash withdrawal.

Deputy Chief Executive of the HKMA Arthur Yuen said although ATM fraud is not a significant fraud in Hong Kong in the past years, it is important for Hong Kong to stay at the forefront of the technology and be in line with international trend.

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