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French Version

Visa helps JKB launch Jordan’s first chip card

The Jordan Kuwait Bank (JKB) and Visa International celebrated on August 8 the launch of Jordan’s first chip card, inaugurating a new age of convenience and safety for banking customers in Jordan.

Chip cards, which are also known as “smart cards” due to the highly powerful microprocessor chip embedded in the card, are the fastest, most secure and versatile tool available today for making cashless payments JKB plans to convert all existing JKB Visa Gold, Classic and Electron magnetic stripe cards by the end of 2005, with all new JKB Visa cardholders to receive chip cards immediately. Majed Burjak, assistant general manager / Operations at JKB, said: “We are very proud to be pioneering the introduction of chip cards in Jordan and indeed across The Levant. As a rapidly developing market, the Kingdom is quick to embrace the latest technologies, which makes it increasingly important for us to deliver sophisticated products to suit modern payment needs.”

Smart cards contain enhanced security features such as data encryption to prevent unauthorised usage; so making them less vulnerable to fraud or counterfeit. They are also protected by a personal identity number (PIN), which is only known by the cardholder and transactions can be authorized offline, resulting in faster transactions and better customer service. Another strong advantage smart cards have over magnetic stripe cards is their greatly increased information capacity. Chip technology allows payment and non-payment applications to be combined on a single card. This means that, in addition to storing a cardholder’s name and account number, cards can carry additional information such as identification, loyalty programs like user points, frequent flyer miles, and cardholder insurance information. The flexibility of chip technology has meant that there are already many different multi-application chip-based products in use the world over.

In Japan, Russia and the UK, smart cards are used for public transportation, South Korea has incorporated smart payment into mobile phones—with mobile phones becoming virtual wallets—whereas in Hong Kong smart cards are being used to pay for bus fares, make purchases, earn loyalty points, pay for sports facilities, enter buildings and prove identity.

Jordan is the latest in a long list of countries worldwide to launch chip technology, joining other Middle Eastern markets such as Saudi and the UAE on the chip migration path. Globally there are 140.5 million Visa chip cards and 2.8 million EMV compliant POS terminals at the end of 2004. Congratulating the bank, Said Shuqom, general manager, Levant, Visa International CEMEA, said, “Chip is the technology of the future and we applaud Jordan Kuwait Bank’s foresight in leading the chip drive in the Kingdom.

It is a vital development for the local card market and will enable Jordan to reap the benefits of joining the global chip community: Increased security, more tailored services for clients and in the future the adoption of multi-application programmes. I have no doubt that chip will soon become commonplace in Jordan and Levant and we are committed to working with all our member banks in order to make the card market safer and more convenient for everybody: Banks, which issue cards; merchants, who accept them; and cardholders, who use them.”

Visa chip cards can be used in over 8,000 outlets in the Kingdom, as well as over 24 million acceptance points worldwide. In the Visa CEMEA region there are over 2.8 million Visa chip cards and 211,000 POS terminals adapted to accept such cards.

The Star

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