By Prince Osuagwu
Barely two months after Nigeria migrated to EMV chip based cards from the magstripe based cards, ATM related frauds seems to have drastically reduced.
This is also as the volume of ATM transactions have risen, hitting about 80 billion monthly.
EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and VISA. It is the global standard for inter_operation of integrated circuit cards and also used for authenticating credit and debit card transactions.
Nigeria migrated to this platform at the expiration of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s deadline, September 30, 2010 that all banks should migrate to this platform.
Chief Executive Officer, Valucard Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kyari Bukar at an Information Security Conference organised by ISS Africa-Nigeria in Lagos recently, gave these highlights, adding that Nigeria must also find out more technologies that can help curb the ATM and cyber related crimes in the country.
According to Bukar, “optimising the security components of card transactions was important to protect users’ fund as well as sustain confidence in card payment in Nigeria. to continue to enhance secure e_payment system in the country, depositors must embrace the chip_based EMV payment cards.
I will say categorically, that there has been serious reduction in the cases of ATM fraud in the country today”.
He however attributed the reduction to the various campaigns by both government and the regulators on the need for ATM users to ensure that they keep their cards safely, without giving their pins outside to people who will defraud them.
“One thing that has been done was the issuance of EMV Chip/PIN cards to the people. We still need proper legislation on this to get the message circulated. People can use their ATMs safely for now. Operators are still working on more security features that would make us to be ahead of fraudsters.”
Besides the 80 b he alluded to transaction on ATM, Bukar also said the monthly transactions on POS range between N1.3bn and N1.4bn across the country.
According to him, “Losses from card fraud affect card usage rates, authorisation parameters, operational process and staffing while also decreasing profit margin. These losses can endanger the most valuable asset acquirers and issuers have: their relationships with business partners and consumers.
“Close attention must be paid to a new technology and processes that may prove to be effective in combating e_payment fraud. There is need for Nigerians to ensure that their cards are EMV complaint, and it should not just be chip/PIN alone. The level of fraud in the US is put at $1.2bn per annum because they are yet to be EMV complaint.”
High levels of e_Payment fraud prompted the Central Bank of Nigeria to order the migration from the unsecured magnetic stripe cards to Chip/PIN cards. Before the directive , there were over 30 million magnetic stripe cards in circulation
However, on September 30, 2010, Nigeria completed the replacement of all existing magnetic stripe cards with the more secure chip / PIN platform..