Debit and credit card holders have just one more day left before their magnetic-strip (magstripe) cards are permanently blocked from January 1. As per the new RBI rules, all magnetic strip debit and credit cards need to be upgraded to EMV chip cards before December 31, 2018. Once the December-31 deadline ends, all private as well as public banks, in line with the RBI mandate, will deactivate all magstripe credit and debit cards from January 1, 2019.
The apex bank, in an earlier notification, had asked all the banks to convert all existing Magnetic Stripe cards to EMV Chip & PIN cards before the last day of the year 2018, irrespective of their validity. Over the past over a year, several banks have taken measures to upgrade these magnetic strip cards to EMV cards for free, but still, there are many customers who have not upgraded debit and credit cards to EMV cards.
A magnetic stripe card stores card data on the magnetic stripe present on the card, while the data in EMV Chip & PIN cards are stored in a chip on the card. There's another type of card, Contact-less NFC card, which is read by keeping it near the card reader.
As per the RBI, the EMV Chip & PIN cards and contactless NFC cards are considered to be safer when compared to magnetic stripe cards, a reason the RBI has asked all banks to replace them. Several banks have been sending notifications to its customers to upgrade their ATM to EMV chip card.
For example, SBI is offering to upgrade old ATM cards with the new EMV chip cards for its users free of cost if they apply within the December 31 deadline. The bank might levy a late fine from customers who apply for new debit cards on or after January 1, 2019. The cards, irrespective of when they have been applied for, will not attract any maintenance charges, though.
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Edited by Manoj Sharma