BPI eyes replacement of 7M ATM cards by 2016

Chris Schnabel
The move is part of bank efforts to deter ATM fraud and is in compliance with a BSP directive for banks to shift to EMV-ready cards

SKIMMING. A photo showing the skimming techniques used by fraudsters at a BPI ATM in Bonifacio Global City. File photo from FJ Castle's Facebook post

MANILA, Philippines – In line with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) directive to enhance the security features of automated teller machine cards to deter fraud, the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is eyeing the replacement of its ATM cards by next year.

BPI president Cezar Consing divulged the plan in response to a stockholder’s question at the BPI annual stockholders’ meeting held in Makati City Wednesday, April 8.

Consing told stockholders that the bank plans to change ATM cards “sometime next year at no charge to the cardholder.”

Changing all of BPI customers’ cards would be a logistical challenge, BPI executive vice president Natividad Alejo said in an interview at the sidelines of the meeting.

“We’re working very hard right now to do that but we have over 7 million ATM cards out there and so it will really be a challenge to reach out to all these 7 million customers,” Alejo said.

She pointed out that part of the difficulty lies in reaching out to long-time clients who have changed addresses and contact numbers but did not update the bank of their latest details.

Despite the challenges, Alejo stressed, “It’s something that needs to be done and I hope that will allow us now to get to the international standard of [banking] security.”

The BSP received 1,972 reports of ATM fraud from banks in 2013, involving a combined amount of P220 million ($4.94 million).

To address this, BSP directed banks to shift from ATM magnetic stripe to EMV or Europay, MasterCard, and Visa chip by January 2017 for added security.

Alejo confirmed that most of the BPI ATMs are EMV-ready and will be able to read the new ATM cards.

“The ATMs we’ve been putting up the last few years are all EMV-ready so little change is needed from a physical aspect,” she said. 

Heightened awareness vs ATM fraud

Alejo also said that social media is playing a role in curbing cases of ATM fraud by enhancing public awareness.

“It’s always good because people get informed and are thus more vigilant about the issue. That has been the positive effect of the fact that we are very open on social media space,” Alejo said.

She said that ATM fraud is a risk that the entire banking industry faces and the public is well informed of the issue now because Filipinos are very active on social media.

“This is why there’s been a significant reduction on ATM fraud and for many more months there has been none,” Alejo said.

BPI has also been more vigilant around its ATM stations and has posted more guards to patrol terminals, she added.

Alejo conceded, however, that recently there has been “noise” again on social media regarding ATM fraud and related cases.

In December 2014, a Facebook post alerting the public to a tampered BPI ATM in Bonifacio Global City went viral. The customer was commended by BPI for exposing the incident.

BPI executives have since announced that Eastern European fraudsters may be behind the scam to steal personal identification numbers (PIN) by installing PIN pads on top of the regular ones in a process called “skimming.”

On Tuesday, April 7, GMA-7’s 24 Oras reported an incident where call center agent Japhet Derrick Ibarra lost his wallet to thieves in Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

The 3 lady suspects withdrew P20,000 ($449) in cash using his BPI ATM card, after deciphering his PIN number. They also bought gadgets worth more than P50,000 ($1,124.48) via the ATM card’s express payment service. 

Ibarra reported the incident to BPI and requested the bank to block the account but by that time, the suspects had already used his ATM card.

Ibarra since uploaded on his Facebook account the CCTV footage of the theft incident.

Guys Pls Share and Beware!!! Mga Mandurukot sa loob ng MegaMall, Nagwithdraw sa Robinsons Tower #HuliCam

Guys Pls Share and Beware!!! Mga Mandurukot sa loob ng MegaMallBirthday ko nung March 10, 2015 Tuesday nang nagdecide ako naicelebrate ito sa MegaMall kasama ate & mama ko. Kumain kami sa Tim Ho Wan and after that, nagdecide kami tumingin ng damit sa Forever21 at after sa H&M.Around 6:15 nakalabas na kami sa Forever21 at ako nagdala ng bag ng mama ko kasi mabigat. Nang nasa H&M na kami napansin namin na nagsetup sila ng bagong sale items so medyo maraming tao at medyo masikip sa may sale area. Nang magbabayad na ako napansin ko na wala na yung wallet ko sa bag.Bumalik at trinace ko yung dinaanan ko at chineck ko kung may nakakita sa fitting room. Humingi kami ng tulong sa security ng H&M para icheck yung cctv, pinayuhan nila kami na iblock yung ATM ko, so pinapunta ako ng ate ko sa BPI Megamall, nung una tumanggi tumulong yung mga tao s BPI sabi nung guard sarado na at tumawag na lang ako sa hotline, at dahil hindi ako makatawag dahil kulang ang load nang cellphone ko yung ate ako tumawag sa hotline, sabi nung nakausap nya dapat tinulungan na ako nung mga tao sa BPI, so bumalik ako at nakiusap sa kanila, around 7:34, nablock na yung BPI atm ko. the next day ko lang nalaman na may nakapagwithdraw ng 20,000php sa BPI Robinsons Tower at ginamit siyang express payment at bumili ng iphone 6 plus sa Beyond the Box sa Robinsons Galleria. Within 1 hour, nakapagwithdraw and purchased sila ng almost 75k. I hope you could help me guys find those thieves! Thanks!

Posted by Japhet Derrick Ibarra on Tuesday, 31 March 2015

– Rappler.com

$1 = P 44.48