The “chip” card is more secure than the magnetic stripe card now in use in Costa Rica. The changeover process to take between 4 and 6 years, say the Costa Rican Banking Association

QCOSTARICA – All credit and debits cards issued by the banks in the country will be replaced over the next four to six years.

The financial institutions in the country are committed to replace some 7 million carDs (5.3 million debit and 1.9 million credit) according to the Costa Rican Banking Association (Asociación Bancaria Costarricense – ABC).

The new cards with a chip will replace all magnetic stripe cards currently used in the country. The bankers say the magnetic stripe is vulnerable to fraud, while the chip system is difficult to impossible to clone.

The new cards will have both the magnetic stripe and chip.

José Ignacio Cordero, spokesperson for the ABC, said the decision whether the banks will absorb the cost of the changeover or pass it on to the client has not yet been made. The ABC says the cost to the banks is between US$4 and US$5 for the chip card, in contrast the magnetic striped cards cost only US$1.

Also, financial institutions will be responsible for the change of its card readers. The ABC says there are some 120,000 card readers currently in use in the country, of which 80% already have chip reading capability.

“Each bank is responsible for setting their own schedule, in a responsible manner, ahead of the deadline set by the BCCR,” said Cordero.

In 2014, Mastercard, Visa and other major card companies around the world, began incorporating the chip system in order to provide greater security for electronic transactions.

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