SBP Claims No ATM Cards Have Been Blocked Yet

The State Bank of Pakistan categorically rejected baseless rumours making the rounds in a section of press that the existing ATM cards with magnetic stripe have stopped working since December 31, 2019. The bank stated it has not issued any such instruction to card issuers (Banks/MFBs).

The statement issued by the SBP stated that customers who have still not received their Europay Mastercard Visa (EMV-Chip and PIN) cards can continue using their existing magnetic stripe cards till the time they have received and activated their new cards.

However, based on activation and delivery trends, the card issuers may block existing magnetic stripe cards to ensure complete migration to EMV (Chip and PIN) at a future date.

The bank said:

We will like to recall that SBP vide PSD Circular Letter No. 09 of 2018 had advised all Banks/MFBs to re-card their existing card portfolios to EMV chip and PIN by June 30, 2019. However, upon the request of the industry, the timeline was revised to December 31, 2019 vide PSD Circular Letter No. 01 of 2019.

The SBP has also allowed numerous Banks/MFBs to utilize Alternate Delivery Channels (ADCs) other than call centers like Mobile Banking, Internet Banking and ATMs etc. for payment card activation purposes.

The move is aimed at easing the pressure on the call centers (which are used by customers for activation of their cards) and to facilitate customers of Banks/MFBs.

SBP reiterated that it will continue making all-out efforts to ensure timely and seamless migration of customers from magnetic stripe to the more secure EMV (Chip and PIN) standard.