By now you must have heard about the chip-based debit and credit cards and how they are now mandatory since January 1, 2019 in India. If you still have the old debit or credit card without the chip-based security — essentially a card that has a magnetic strip but cannot be called an EMV card — then it will not work when inserted or swiped at an ATM or in a card reader at a shop. Now that the chip-based cards are mandatory India, ATMs have been calibrated to make use of the chip. And this has resulted in the way ATMs work in India. You must have noticed it already, if not we are going to explain it all.
Earlier, the government had told banks to upgrade both debit and credit cards of their customers for better security. All private and public sector banks informed their customers to exchange their old debit or credit cards and replace them with the newer versions that contained a special microchip. The deadline for the upgrade was set to December 31, 2018, post which cards without the embedded chip can’t carry on transactions.
The chip-based debit and credit cards are now going to be used by ATMs in a different way. Have you been to the ATM recently? Did you carry out a transaction? While making the transaction, was there anything peculiar that you noticed? Those who have been cautious must have noticed that ATM machine now requires the card to remain inserted during the entire transaction process. Unlike the previous method where the user was required to swipe the card once for verification, the new method requires the card to be kept in the card slot all throughout the transaction. If you try to remove it, it won’t come out.
Banks are also sending messages to customers telling them about the change. Here is, for example, a message sent by Axis Bank. Similar messages are also sent by State Bank of India (SBI) and other banks.
“We have upgraded the security features at our ATMs and Recyclers. Your card will be latched during the course of your transaction. Please remember to collect your card before you leave the ATM/Recycler.”
Now, what is this new security feature and how it changes the way you use ATMs in India? Here is the full explanation.
How to use new ATMs in India with chip debit cards
— Earlier, at an ATM you would one of these things: One, you will insert the card and then take it out. Then follow instruction on the screen to withdraw money from the ATM.
Two, you will insert the card, the ATM will swallow it and then after a few seconds, after reading the card, will push it out. You will then follow instruction on the screen to withdraw cash.
Three, the ATM will swallow the card and will keep it inside the machine until you have done your transaction.
— The new mechanism of using ATM is different. The new system requires cards with embedded chips to be kept in the card slot while the transaction is happening.
— To prevent users from removing the card and disrupting the transaction, ATM machines latches on to the card — in other words pins it down and holds it — while the transaction is underway.
— The user is not supposed to remove the card while it is latched on. If you try to remove the card, you will see that you need to apply some force because something is clamping down on the card. You will be able to snatch the card, but the process may damage the card, particularly the chip portion of the debit or credit card.
— When the transaction is on, the ATM machine will show a red LED light blinking in the card slot. This may depend on ATM to ATM. Some machines may have it, some may not.
— When the transaction is complete, the LED light turns green.
— Essentially, don’t remove your card unless the light is green. When it is Red, removing the debit card may damage it or result in transaction failure.
— This is a mechanism similar to how card readers at shops and restaurants work, it’s just that now the same mechanism has come to ATM machines.
–Most ATM machines have been upgraded to the new system. Several private, as well as public sector banks such as SBI, ICICI, HDFC and others, have started implementing the new security methods widely in their ATM outlets. It is possible that you may still encounter machines with old transaction method, but chances are that all machines will move to the new system soon.
— If you are at an ATM machine that doesn’t latch on to the card, the new system mustn’t have been implemented. In such cases, you can continue to use the ATM is older way, i.e. swipe the card for verification.
— Apart from sending people messages, banks are also explaining the new process on an ATM screen.
–If you are still trying to use an ATM card that doesn’t have the chip, you should get in touch with your bank and upgrade to the newer chip-based cards.