Plastic money operators want banks to shift from the old ATM cards to a new high security chip and pin card technology.
The campaign by MasterCard, Delarue, and ATM service provider Paynet is dubbed 'the great migration to EMV' is aimed at encouraging local banks to abandon the old magnetic stripe platform used for ATM , credit and debit cards and instead issue their customers with the more secure and multifunctional cards.
The move comes after a recent survey by audit firm Deloitte on fraud in the financial sector which estimated the losses by various East African banks at more than Sh4.06 billion since 2011 to the first quarter of 2012, with players expressing fear that the loss could be more as many cases of card fraud end up being unreported while some banks conceal the thefts to protect their image.
"From an analysis of global trends ,the region is lagging behind and along the way missing on an opportunity for continental leadership", said MasterCard East Africa's James Wainaina.
He said the chip and pin technology enhances the security of payment systems and provides better protection to issuers and acquires against fraud as compared to traditional magnetic stripe..
According to the Central Bank of Kenya the number of debit cards issued have risen by 15 per cent to 8.1million cards while card payments have jumped by a significant 83 per cent from 211.2billion to 386.6 billion during the first half of 2012.