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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Smart card central to retail banking – Chams

Remmy Nweke

Chams Nigeria Limited, has explained its choice of the Europay International, MasterCard International and Visa International, otherwise known as EMV, just as it said that smart card deployment is central to retail banking.

EMV was created in 1994 to give boost to smart card payment system in the country.

Chams through Mrs. Shola Omotayo and Goke Idris informed at the recent one-day open house seminar held in Lagos that the choice of EMV would avail the firm an added edge to take headlong the on-going reorganization and realignment of the banking and finance sector in the country.

Pointing out that this has created a major upheaval in the way banks deal with their customers and product offerings.

“With the smallest of the new twenty five banks having a minimum of twenty five billion Naira (N25B) as shareholders fund, it has become highly imperative and urgent for banks to bring retail banking into the forefront of their activities,” the firm said.

Noting that the days of heavy reliance on foreign exchange trading is over with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) now in position to monitor the fewer banks closely.

According to the Chams’ officials, smart card deployment is central to retailing banking via the issuance of debit and credit card to customers to enable them have access to their funds in the banks 24 by 7.

Static funds, the firm said, do not generate enough revenue as much as dynamic funds, which earn banks much more in charges.

Explaining that the easiest way to make these funds dynamic, generate additional revenues and create unprecedented convenience and comfort to consumers would be to issue cards to these customers.

With the current upsurge, Chams noted, unlike what have been witnessed in the past few months in card issuance, saying that the coming into the market of Valucard/Visa International, gave rise to its choice of EMV.

This, the company said was why they partnered with Datacard in presenting to the Nigerian market the various technologies and solution needed to address the issues of fraud, security and standards using EMV.

EMV was created as a joint industry working group solution, which first met back in 1994 to facilitate the introduction of chip as the replacement technology for credit and debit cards, replacing the traditional magnetic stripe.

Smart cards, the firm said allow for the introduction of stronger security counter measures, enabling offline Personal Identification Number (PIN) verification, provide the ability to support enhanced data and introduce new risk management capabilities.

EMV’s aim, therefore is to avail global-interoperability and ensure that chip based credit and debit cards could be used anywhere in the world.

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