Anxious for banks to offer chip-and-PIN cards

| 28/10/2016 | 7 Comments

Any idea when Cayman banks will get up to date with credit cards using chip and PIN? I recently went to Europe and in both UK and France (and probably other European countries) a lot of places would not accept our “swipe” credit cards, which was very embarrassing. In fact, staff at some stores did not even know how to run the swipe cards or did not have the machine paper. My Cayman debit/credit cards do not have the little gold chip logo on the front so they could not be pushed into the machine and PIN entered as the European cards can. I believe Europe will soon be adopting simple “point/scan” cards (some places already have) so even if we get the chip-and-PIN technology (one bank here did say they were working on it but no idea of timeframe…they will likely be out of date by the time it is rolled out).


Auntie’s answer: While I always try to keep my answers as generic as possible without mentioning specific businesses, in this case I thought it would be helpful to identify what banks offer what. Note that the answer is not comprehensive because I was not able to get responses from every bank.

The consensus is that for now only Butterfield Bank provides chip-and-PIN cards in Cayman, though that is set to change. A Butterfield representative explained that the bank offers this technology on their “full suite of credit card products, with the view of launching the same on our debit card product in 2017”. The bank also has rolled out point-of-sale (POS) machines that can handle these new cards, whether from Cayman or overseas.

RBC Royal Bank is able to accept chip-and-PIN cards at their ATM/POS terminals. A bank official added, “Merchants are mandated to still accept non-chip cards, even in Europe; Visa/MasterCard has mandated this and is responsible for oversight.”

In addition, the bank is “in the process of developing its chip/PIN technology cards” but the timing for that launch is “to be announced”. Those cards will simultaneously be enabled with payWave (point-and-scan) capabilities.

And lastly, a CIBC FirstCaribbean representative said the bank will be launching chip-and-PIN cards “in the early part of next year” and these will also be “contactless” or point-and-scan. The bank has begun to convert its POS machines to accept both technologies, expecting to complete the first phase of that project by end of this year.

For those readers interested in the technology of point-and-scan, he explained these credit and debit cards, as well as smartphones and other mobile devices, “use radio-frequency identification or near field communication for making secure payments”.

Consumers just have to wave their card or device over the reader at the POS terminal, a process he said is believed to be “almost twice as fast as a conventional cash, credit, or debit card purchase with no signature or PIN verification typically required”.

I hope that the reader and the rest of Cayman will soon be able to enjoy all this new technology.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    One major bank don’t even have online access to company credit cards so dont hold your breath for this update.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree, there may be some agreement but in a lot of places in Europe they don’t know how to use the swipe and in most cases don’t want to. It is quite common place to see the swipe side of the machines taped so that a card can’t be swiped.

    Any word on CNB moving to PIN?

  3. Matt says:

    The agreements in Europe mean retailers have to accept non pin cards from Visa and MasterCard. the issue is the shop staff don’t know how, but if you ask them to call the merchant line they help and process the card.

  4. Barbara Clark says:

    There is now a phone app that can copy your contactless card and all the person has to do is go near your card with the phone and they then have all the card details except the 3 numbers on the back. (This was on the show Rip Off Britain in the U.K. This summer. ) the limit of any single transaction is £30 but there can be many transactions. I don’t see this is as a welcome advancement as it needs to be more secure.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Auntie for this comprehensive response..interesting that RBC state it is Mandatory for Merchants to accept non chip cards because obviously a lot of merchants and ATMs who declined my RBC card do not know that….

    • Donat says:

      Scotia have been ‘working on it’ for the last 2 years. Very frustrating when u go to Europe can scotia pls update us on the status and get with the programme this decade

      • kenneth says:

        Just came back from Europe and I never had any problem with none of my Butterfield Bank debit card, or my Credit card, just have to swipe your card instead of inserting into the machine that they use in Europe.

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