I’m still catching up on a few matters and wanted to take a moment to update our members about a recent announcement by Bangkok Bank regarding their changing over to a new debit card that had some scratching their heads as to what to do next. I contacted Waraporn Srinaka, Senior Specialist at the Bangkok Main office in Bangkok.
First, some background information
Over the past few years, several landmark decisions about ATM/debit cards have been made by the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the Thai Bankers’ Association (TBA), and these are beginning to be implemented this year. To combat the growing incidence of ATM and debit-card fraud, the BOT decided that all new ATM/debit cards in Thailand must carry secure embedded chips, a mandate which comes into force this May. The BOT and TBA adopted Chinese payments card company UnionPay’s chip technology as the standard for all of Thailand’s debit cards, the first country outside of China to do so.
This will mean a mass transformation of Thailand’s 50-million strong debit-card market, as currently few debit cards have embedded chips and they are mainly used as ATM cards and not for retail transactions. Therefore, most cards will need to be replaced at some point
To support this UnionPay has joined with Bangkok Bank to establish the Thai Payment Network (TPN). (Already the other three largest commercial banks – Krungthai Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikornbank have signed a memorandum of understanding expressing their interest in becoming TPN shareholders).
Bangkok Bank takes very seriously the increasing incidence of ATM and debit-card fraud as evidenced by the previous Visa “EMV Chip Card” issued showing that Bangkok Bank has led the way to being the leading Thai bank to be in line with the BOT policy.
For those who already have a Visa card Khun Waraporn recommends that they continue using the card until the deadline announced by the Bank of Thailand (BOT). (It may take some time!).
Khun Waraporn stated:
“Currently, Bangkok Bank is no longer issuing a Visa debit card to its customers. This is due to the government initiative that aims to improve upon Thailand’s payment infrastructure system, with the intention of helping the public make e-payments more easily and conveniently, with less need for cash. However, they are issuing UnionPay debit cards with new accounts. (I have one of each now). The `new UnionPay debit card requires a 6-digit pin code compared to the old 4-digit pin code.
We apologize for any inconvenience that may be caused to our customers and hope that our expat community will understand the bank decision to protect its customers. We look forward to continue assisting and supporting the Chiang Mai expat banking community in Thailand.”