You must have been receiving repeated messages from your banks reminding you to upgrade your old debit and credit cards, which you most probably must have ignored, assuming it to be spam. Here's news for you then. Yes, your old cards (if they are not chip-based) will be valid only till December 31. You need to replace your current cards with new ones if you have not done it already.
The Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) has ordered the banks to provide its existing, as well as new customers with the new EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) cards. The RBI has decided to do so in order to protect your money from online predators.
Online banking fraud cases investigations have revealed that debit and credit card piracy has been a major issue. To curb this, the RBI has come out with the new chip-based EMV cards, which will help protect your money from the online predators. This directive is applicable to all the domestic, as well as international cards. The cards need to be replaced even if their expiry date happens to be after December 31, 2018.
According to the RBI, as of June, there are over 39 million active credit cards and 944 million debit cards in the country.
Why EMV cards are better than stripe-only cards?
The existing debit and credit cards are magnetic stripe-only cards. The black magnetic strip behind your cards is called the magstripe. The strip is made of small magnets in which your account information is stored. When the card is swiped in the machine, it will process your account information and the transaction will take place.
The EMV cards, on the other hand, have a chip embedded on the card which contains all the account information in an encrypted format. When the card is used in the machine, it asks for the PIN, and only then the transaction will be completed. The chip-based card will not be read unless you enter the PIN, thus making it difficult for the fraudsters to access customer information.
Some banks, offer these cards without a PIN. Instead, they use your signature for authentication. In order to rip information off EMV cards, the fraudster will have to access the physical chip circuit and draw your bank information from there. According to experts, this is next to impossible.
Why is EMV more secure?
The magnetic stripe cards are magnetised, as mentioned above, those magnets will store your account information. The main problem with the magstripe is that the data remains static, making it easy for a fraudster to capture it if the card is used at a place where a cloning device if installed. Once the fraudster skims your card, he can easily create a fake or cloned card with your details and use it for purchases. Whereas an EMV card helps prevent frauds as the account information stored in it is dynamic, it keeps changing constantly, making it extremely difficult to extract information.
How to identify a magstripe debit/credit card?
If your card has only a black strip in the back and no gold coloured chip located on the face of your card at the center-left, then it is a magstripe. You need to get that replaced with the new EMV card.
How to apply for the new cards?
The replacement of existing debit and credit cards with the new EMV chip-based cards is free of cost. You can visit your bank with your passbook. You will have to fill a form requesting for a replacement card. Once you submit it, you will get your new chip-based card. Or, if you do not have time to you can also apply online.