Card usage insecure in Vietnam

HANOI – ATM cards make up a lion’s share of some 80 million bank cards in Vietnam but the security of these plastics is very low as they use old...

HANOI – ATM cards make up a lion’s share of some 80 million bank cards in Vietnam but the security of these plastics is very low as they use old technology, experts at Banking Vietnam 2015 warned.

ATM cards account for 88% of total bank cards in the country and international debit cards for a mere 4.22%, heard the two-day conference that ended in Hanoi on Tuesday. As ATM cards were issued based on old technology, it is easy for criminal organizations to fake them and steal personal data of cardholders.

Nguyen Dang Hung, deputy general director of Vietnam National Financial Switching Joint Stock Company (Banknetvn), told the event that banks should apply modern technology for their cards in the face of rising card fraud in this market.

“Although many banks have installed surveillance devices and cameras at their ATM booths to prevent card fraud, many cardholders have still fallen victim to information theft,” Hung said.

As many as 350 counterfeit cards were detected in 2011 with losses amounting to VND62.5 billion (US$3 million). In 2013, some Bulgarians installed devices at a number of ATM booths in Nha Trang City of Khanh Hoa Province to steal cardholder data and then withdrew over VND100 million from their bank accounts.

A Chinese was discovered to use 14 fake cards with different bank brands to get money from ATM machines last year.

Experts at Banking Vietnam 2015 called for local banks to switch to chip cards to enhance security and protect customers from losses. Many countries have issued chip cards to minimize fraud as it is hard to fake chip cards.

Malaysia used to be one of the countries with the biggest number of fake cards in the world, but the country has changed all magnetic cards into chip ones.

Hung noted that as countries like Malaysia have shifted to using chip cards, more criminal organizations and individuals might have moved to Vietnam.

According to experts, banks are hesitant to switch to chip cards as it costs an additional US$1 to issue one chip card compared to the magnetic version.

Experts also urged banks to enhance security measures for electronic payment systems and payment services on advanced technologies to minimize crime-related losses.

According to a 2014 report of security firm Kaspersky, there were nearly two million attacks using money stealing malware via online banking services last year. Vietnam ranked seventh in terms of vulnerabilities for card users.


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