Habib Bank Limited (HBL) has started issuing debit cards that customers will able to use in Pakistan only. The new rule will also be in effect for all previously issued cards.
This change, HBL says, has been undertaken to help protect customers after cards were hacked and funds were withdrawn internationally.
Now customers will need to get their card unlocked if they want to use them internationally (like for shopping).
On Friday, HBL Management sent letters to all debit card holders, stating that:
HBL is committed towards the security of your debit card. Our aim is to provide a secure environment to you when you are accessing your finance domestically or while travelling abroad.
“For your added safety and to protect you against fraudulent transactions, HBL debit card at international locations will be restricted with effect April 6, 2018.” the letter said.
The letter further said that:
If you wish to use HBL Debit Card overseas, call HBL phone banking at 021- 111-111-425 any time to activate international usage services. Local use within Pakistan will not be affected by this change and you can safely use HBL Debit Card across 150 alliances to enjoy exclusive discounts or any outlet of your choice.
For further information, ProPakistani contacted HBL Director Naveed Asgher but we are still waiting for the banks’ response. Among our unanswered questions are: What about cross border and overseas payment from Pakistan via internet banking? What is HBL’s policy regarding other plastic money Credit, Charge and Cash Cards? And many more.
State Bank of Pakistan told ProPakistani that it has issued no guidelines to restrict the use of debit cards domestically.
In December 2017, Chinese hackers stole data from HBL customers by installing skimming devices in ATMs. Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) later revealed that Chinese hackers had stolen Rs. 10 million from 559 HBL accounts.