Visa Asia Pacific chalks up more than 43% growth in EMV Chip Cards issuance

Travel News Asia Friday, 12 May 2006

Visa Asia Pacific's new EMV chip migration continues to see good momentum with more than 43 million Visa EMV-compliant chip cards issued in the region as at the end of 2005, registering year-on-year growth of more than 43%. The number of EMV chip terminals in the region has risen to more than one million, up 105% over the previous year.

EMV chip cards are payment cards carrying an embedded microchip. Compared with existing magnetic stripe cards, the computing power of the chip means that the cards can offer much greater security as they can protect against skimming or copying the contents of the magnetic stripe. When a cardholder makes a purchase at a merchant, the chip card sends a different secret message to authenticate every transaction, making it practically impossible for a fraudster to steal the information to create counterfeit cards.

Visas EMV chip cards are in use in 18 markets (Australia, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, India, Indonesia, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam) across the region. Four of the markets Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia have national migration programs underway. In those markets which are further down the migration path, the benefits of EMV chip are already being reaped.

Malaysia was the first country to complete a national EMV chip-card adoption program, converting all credit cards to EMV chip by December 2004 and all card terminals by December 2005. As a result, counterfeit (Counterfeit fraud occurs when stolen cardholder account data is stored on the magnetic stripe of fake cards and used for fraudulent transactions) fraud on cards issued in the country has disappeared.

Protecting cardholders is absolutely critical it is what our customers tell us they want and increasingly it is technology that helps enable us to protect them. EMV chip is the solid foundation upon which, not just the security elements, but the other consumer interests can be met, that of convenience, flexibility and variety. Given the pace at which technology is changing and fueling consumer interests, EMV chip migration must be accelerated or banks will run the risk of missing out on the tremendous opportunities open to us now, and pay a higher price for it down the road, said Paul Jung, Visa Asia Pacifics regional head, Emerging Product and Technology. 

Visa Asia Pacifics Heart of Smart Chip Consumer Research reveals that there is an increased in awareness and interest in smart cards throughout the region. Nearly two in three consumers believe EMV chip are more secure than magnetic stripe cards. Consumers also indicate that security and convenience are the two strongest factors for their preference for smart cards over magnetic stripe cards. They also expressed interest in the practical applications offered by smart cards such as usage in public transportation.

Asia Pacific Highlights

- Malaysia was the first market in Asia Pacific to complete its migration. Thailand and Indonesia are now actively pushing migration for both card issuance as well as terminal deployment. 

- Taiwan has more than five million EMV chip cardholders and more than 162,000 EMV terminals deployed covering more than 90% of the merchant terminal base. 

- Korea has been very successful in its chip and mobile payment initiatives, with one in four Visa cards issued with a transit (contactless) capability. 

- Japan has issued more than 27 million Visa chip cards as of December 2005. One out of three Visa cards issued in Japan is EMV-based. 

- Australia and New Zealand began their chip card in chip-terminal transactions in early 2006.

See other recent news regarding: Visa, Credit Cards

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