EastWest Bank gives clients until July 31 to claim new EMV cards

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EAST WEST Banking Corp.’s (EastWest Bank) clients only have until next week to switch their magnetic strip cards to microchip-enabled ones, with the lender set to deactivate all its old cards.

In a statement e-mailed to reporters on Thursday, the Gotianun-led bank said it is giving its clients until July 31 to claim their Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV)-enabled cards pursuant to the central bank’s regulations.

“Cardholders who continue to use their old magnetic stripe debit cards are at greater risk of losing their hard-earned money to ATM (automated teller machine) skimming and transaction fraud. Thus, we strongly encourage our customers to claim their replacement debit card now to enjoy greater protection against fraud,” EastWest Senior Executive Vice-President and Retail Banking Head Gerry N. Susmerano was quoted as saying in a statement.

In 2014, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), through BSP Circular 859, announced it will impose the EMV standard on card-issuing entities, originally setting the deadline on Jan. 1, 2017.

But with most banks yet to fully shift to the platform, the central bank in June gave Philippine banks up to June 30, 2018 to adopt the EMV technology.

The EMV platform makes use of microchips rather than the traditional magnetic strip found at the back of cards, which are prone to skimming — usually done by illegally tapping into ATM terminals to steal client data. As a result, EMV — an international standard — makes depositors and credit card holders “more secure” against fraud.

Clients with non-payroll accounts only have until end-July to claim their EMV debit cards from their respective store of account, while clients with accounts under payroll should coordinate with their respective Human Resource Departments to claim their microchip debit cards with EMV and payWave.

EastWest Bank said it will destroy cards left unclaimed after the July 31 deadline for security purposes, while all of its magnetic strip, non-EMV debit cards will be unusable, with the date of deactivation yet to be announced.

Clients unable to claim their free replacement cards before end-July can request for a new card for a P150 fee.

The listed lender booked a 54% growth in its bottom line to P1.2 billion in the first quarter of the year from the P787 million recorded in the comparable period a year ago, driven by robust lending and productivity.

EastWest Bank’s total assets reached P293 billion in the first three months of the year, soaring by 22% year-on-year, primarily driven by an increase in its consumer loans.

Shares in EastWest Bank lost 25 centavos or 0.77% to close at P32.05 apiece on Thursday. — J.M.D. Soliman