27 March 2014

Kenya: March 31 Chip Deadline On, Says Bankers Association

Nairobi — The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) says it will not extend the deadline of the migration of cards from magnetic strip cards to the Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) platform that is scheduled for Monday.

KBA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Habil Olaka told Capital FM Business the current magnetic strip cards have been blamed for rampant fraud in Kenya's vibrant financial sector.

Olaka says after the deadline, banks will now be liable for any fraud that occurs due to the use of cards that are not EMV compliant.

"The consumer should not be penalised for any operational issues that may come up within the system of issuing the cards, and so we will determine the liability shift so that banks become liable for anybody who loses money out of using a card that is not compliant as the responsibility falls on the bank," he said.

Olaka however says that the association is carrying out a survey that will determine whether they will extend the liability shift date which is set for Tuesday.

"Depending on banks' explanation on why they would like more time as well as how ready the market is for the migration, we might shift the liability shift date," he explained.

This comes as banks have been requesting for additional time to migrate their customers to the more secure chip-based cards.

Among them are Barclays Bank of Kenya whose Chief Executive Jeremy Awori says the migration will take more time pointing out that it's hard to get all their customers attain the EMV Chip cards by the deadline.

"We are making good process. We have completed the system works, and now we are working with customers for them to give in their old magnetic strip cards and get the EMV chip enabled cards. The process might take a little bit more time for the industry because it requires the customer to come to our offices and switch the cards," he said.

Sharing the same sentiments was Family Bank CEO Peter Munyiri who says the March 31 deadline is hard to beat.

"The fact is these are major projects. We are reissuing new cards and we are calling back the cards that are already out in circulation, it's not about Family Bank, it's the whole industry... we have started to issue new cards but by 31st there will still be a few cards not issued," Munyiri said.

Standard Chartered Bank CEO Lamin Manjang sees the end of June as a possible target for the migration, pointing out that the industry will not be able to comply by the deadline.

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