Visa Australia said today it was moving to chip and PIN technology for all of its credit cards, with signature transactions to be banned by April 2013.
The move, instigated to reduce card fraud, involves working with financial institutions and retailers to upgrade over 14 million visa cards, half a million point of sale terminals, and thousands of ATMs.
From January 2010 all new Visa cards will feature smart chips, while debit and reloadable prepaid cards will be updated from January 2011. Currently around 37 per cent of Australian Visa cards are chip-enabled. 100 per cent of credit cards will be chip cards by 1 April 2013. All merchant terminals must be chip-capable by April 2012. All ATMs must be chip capable by 1 January 2011.
"These initiatives are part of a comprehensive security upgrade aimed at providing cardholders with a higher level of confidence and significantly reducing all types of card fraud including counterfeit, skimming and online fraud," Visa's general manager for Australia and New Zealand, Chris Clark said in a statement.
The upgrade will also allow banks and merchants to offer their customers more services such as contactless payments and storing rewards program information on cards.
Moving to chip and PIN was part of Visa's seven-point security agenda, which included using Verified by Visa passwords when shopping over the internet and requiring retailers to capture the three-digit cardholder verification number when processing transactions.
"While card fraud in Australia remains low by world standards, overseas criminals are becoming increasingly active in seeking out new arenas. The time is right to take advantage of the new technologies available to work across the industry, with banks and merchants, to strengthen security across the board," Clark said.