RBI asks banks to replace 17.5 lakh debit cards

Theft threat: SBI, the country’s largest lender, has started the process of replacing 0.6 million debit cards. File photo  

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to replace debit cards whose security is suspected to have been compromised after being used in some automated teller machines (ATMs).

The issue was first suspected by payment gateways such as Visa, Mastercard and Rupay, the last of which is operated by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), when it came to their notice that security could have been breached in some instances.

Debit cards and credit cards face security issues when unauthorised parties access confidential details embedded in the card. Such access could happen even as the card is being used in an ATM.

“We have asked all the banks to replace the debit cards that are under suspicion,” said a central banking source.

Cards falling in the suspicious category and needing replacement would number about 17.5 lakh. The total debit card base in the country was 697 million as of July 2016.

Banks such as State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank and Bank of Baroda have already started replacing the cards. SBI, the country’s largest lender, has started the process of replacing 0.6 million debit cards.

“There are three agencies which operate the gateways for debit card related settlements, Visa, MasterCard and Rupay. Based on a particular incident, these three companies began suspecting that in some of ATMs, data had been compromised,” Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, chief information officer, SBI told The Hindu.

“They advised various banks that these cards could have been compromised. So, we blocked all the suspicious cards,” he said.

Playing safe

Mr. Mahapatra added that while the bank had advised customers to change the debit card pin, the institution had also blocked the cards, and is now issuing fresh cards. He said the process would be competed in two to three days.

“You could still continue to use your old card with a changed password… there is no compromise in any data or security in SBI’s systems. However, because there is a needle of suspicion, we are taking this additional step,” Mr. Mahapatra said.

SBI is investigating the issue to ascertain whether there was any financial loss to the customers.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 9:45:18 PM |

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