India's largest banker, the State Bank of India (SBI) recently asked its customers to update their debit cards by 31 December 2018. "We're replacing Magstripe Debit Cards with more secure EMV Chip Debit Cards free of cost. Switch to an EMV Card today. Last day to upgrade your Debit Card: 31st December 2018," the bank said in a social media post.
This applies to all major bank customers. The Reserve Bank of India has made it mandatory for all banks to replace Magstripe Debit Cards with the latest EMV Chip Debit Cards (picture reference below).
These were introduced after a major ATM skimming scam this year where fraudsters duplicated the ATM cards with the Magstripe using small copying devices known as skimmers that steal information during an ATM transaction from the magnetic strip. In Kolkata alone, 78 customers of leading public and private banks allegedly lost Rs 20 lakh in the month of August 2018.
Cards received before January 2016 have the magnetic strip. The cards are being replaced by banks with the latest EMV (Europay MasterCard Visa) Chips for free. If you haven't upgraded them yet, you can apply for one at your nearest branch.
As per the SBI website, "EMV Chip technology is the latest global standard for Debit Card payments. This technology features Debit Cards with an embedded microprocessor chip that store and protects cardholder data. This is a much secure technology as compared to Magstripe variants of Card."