EastWest Bank migrates credit cards to EMV standard ahead of deadline

EAST WEST Banking Corp.’s (EastWest Bank) credit cards are now micro-chip enabled, with the listed lender completing the shift ahead of the central bank’s deadline of being Europay MasterCard Visa- (EMV) compliant by January 2017.

“All EastWest credit cards issued are now EMV chip-enabled in compliance with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) mandate to adopt chip technology for better card security. EastWest was able to comply ahead of BSP’s deadline to implement the initiative,” the Gotianun-led bank said in a statement e-mailed to reporters on Monday.

In 2014, the BSP issued Circular 859 that required all debit and credit card-issuing companies to shift to the EMV chip technology by Jan. 1, 2017, moving away from the current magnetic stripe.

The EMV system -- an international standard -- is said to be “more secure” against fraud as it includes encryption locks and keys to authenticate the card and transactions, protecting data from being compromised.

The bank also said that it introduced two new premium credit card variants, namely EastWest Visa Platinum Credit Card and EastWest Priority Banking Visa Infinite Credit Card, amid EastWest’s aim to grow its credit card business that was further boosted by the successful transfer of Standard Chartered Bank’s retail banking business to EastWest Bank.

“We’re excited to launch our new premium credit cards which provide a host of differentiated and superior benefits for our customers,” EastWest Bank Executive Vice President and Consumer Lending Cluster Head Jacqueline S. Fernandez was quoted saying in a statement.

“Expanding our credit card portfolio underscores our goal of strengthening EastWest’s consumer lending business,” Ms. Fernandez added.

Last Nov. 26, Standard Chartered’s retail banking business -- which included credit cards, personal loans, wealth management and retail deposits -- was successfully migrated to EastWest, placing the bank as the fifth largest credit card issuer in the industry “with over a million cards-in-force” and was seen to expand the consumer lending business of the local bank.

EastWest recorded a 78% growth in its net income in the first nine months of the year to P2.33 billion.

Its shares closed at P18.80 each on Monday, down 0.53%.

Published in BusinessWorld
Issue Date: December 20, 2016