Signature-enabled debit and credit cards to be phased out industry-wide

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 17 Dec 2016

PETALING JAYA: There are just 15 days left for credit and debit cardholders to switch to the new personal identification number (PIN)-enabled payment cards.

Come Jan 1, the industry-wide transition from signature to PIN would be completed and cardholders would be required to key in their six-digit pin for transactions over point-of-sales (POS) terminals.

Those who have received their PIN-enabled cards, but have yet to activate it may soon find themselves stalled at the counter when a transaction is being made if they are to use their old cards.

Anticipating cases where cardholders may not be able to remember their PIN, there would also be a PIN bypass period until July 1 next year when cardholders can sign instead of entering their PIN for purchases. The signature system would be completely turned off after the six-month period.

The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) said this was an important transitional buffer for the change in behaviour and for cardholders to migrate from using signature to PIN fully.

“Credit and debit cardholders have to remember their PIN and use their PIN-enabled cards at retailers, which display the ‘PIN & Pay’ logo or when prompted for PIN at POS terminals,” it said,

During a media briefing on the migration last month, Bank Negara payment systems policy department director Tan Nyat Chuan said that the PIN transactions must be at comfortable level before the signature system is turned off.

The central bank had set a target of a 1% fallback to signature by July next year.

Tan said last month that the central bank reserved the right to take action against any bank that has not made sufficient effort, but it would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

As at the end of October, the number of active debit cards that were replaced were below the 50% mark.

Figures from ABM showed that 6.1 million out of 7.5 million credit cards have been replaced and the industry was on track to send out all replacement credit cards to customers by the end of this month. Of the 6.1 million, over 60% have since been activated.

For debit cards, only 8.4 million of the 17.8 million active debit cards have been replaced as of October.

According to the ABM, the challenge has been to encourage customers to go to the branch to collect their replacement debit cards.

It added that to overcome this, card issuers were using a number of methods such as promotions to incentivise cardholders to collect their new debit cards, mailing out debit cards where possible, issuing a replacement debit card over the counter whenever a customer comes to a branch to conduct other transactions and extending branch operating hours to the evening or over the weekend.

“We urge debit or ATM cardholders to collect their PIN-enabled cards as soon as possible from their bank branches so as not to face interruptions for their purchases in Malaysia and abroad.

“As for credit cards, while the PIN selection of 60% is lower than ultimately required, it reflects the fact that the industry has started replacing credit cards for PIN in the third quarter of last year, well before the first terminals were upgraded for PIN in the second quarter of this year.

“Many cardholders who received credit cards in the early phases of the migration saw no evidence of PIN prompted at terminals and so there was little or no incentive to select a PIN for the credit card.

“This is now changing as the market has reached a critical mass of terminals enabled for PIN. More and more cardholders will be reminded to select a PIN because they are prompted for PIN more frequently.”

Credit cardholders also have to take note that their old cards would stop working three months after the date that their new credit cards were sent to them.

Those who would like to know more about the initiative, could visit

For further enquires, contact the ABMConnect hotline 1-300-88-9980, or through eABMConnect by logging on to

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