Credit card warning for Trinis in US
Risk small, says banker, but...
Camille Bethel email@example.com
The likelihood of citizens of Trinidad and Tobago using credit cards overseas being hacked, as many United States customers were at Target stores last week, is very small, but customers should still be vigilant, said Larry Nath, president of the Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT).
Target’s in-store point-of-sale systems were hacked, compromising as many as 40 million debit and credit card accounts of shoppers who made purchases in-house at Target stores.
The hackers were able to pick up the customer names, credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, and three-digit security codes from customers’ data.
Speaking with the Express in a telephone interview on Saturday, Nath assured that the systems and cards being used locally by banks to protect their customers were a lot more safe than those currently being used in the US.
“To the extent that presents a risk to customers in Trinidad and Tobago, we consider that very low because most banks in Trinidad advise customers when they are travelling abroad they call into the banks, to make sure that we know that they are travelling, so when we see foreign transactions we can work with them on it. Because of credit card fraud in previous years we have developed this procedure.
“The second thing is that more and more in Trinidad the banks are turning to chip cards--that’s the new credit cards with the chips in it. Those cards are very difficult to hack because the information on the cards is encrypted, whereas the old cards with the magnetic strips are more prone to being hacked. For example, Republic is now chip card and First Citizens is now chip card. Banks are migrating towards that safer platform, but customers who would have shopped at Target stores should also be vigilant as well in that regard,” he added.
Nath explained that the difference with the US is that many of the cards are still magnetic strips, that is why US and North American customers will be more exposed than Trinidad and Tobago customers.
He said the local banks remain vigilant and customers are also encouraged to check their statements very closely as well and record any strange transaction and report it to their banks.
Nath reminded that customers had access to their banks both on line and via the phone 24/7 if they encountered any issues.