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StanChart tightens grip on credit market

By | March 18th 2011

By James Anyanzwa

Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) has made a foray into the credit card market with the launch of new Platinum and Gold credit cards.

The minimum credit limit on Platinum and Gold credit cards is Sh600,000 and Sh200,000 respectively.

The latest devices have been built by use of a new chip technology to curb incidents of credit card fraud commonly referred to as card skimming.

Fraud by use of counterfeited cards is increasingly becoming predominant in the banking industry as banks become soft targets in terms of technology replacing physical methods such as card reader and skimming machines.

Skimmers are devices that steal card information placed over what looks like otherwise standard card readers.

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Consumer Banking Division, Executive Director Kariuki Ngari (right) and Head of Marketing Caroline Mbui display the new chip-enabled Platinum and Gold credit cards during a press briefing in Nairobi. The cards are the first in the market to offer rewards and cash-back on spending. [PHOTO: ANDREW KILONZI / STANDARD]

Criminals often capture Personal Identification Number (PIN) data, then create dummy cards in order to drain a victim’s account.

"With the increased rates of card skimming in Kenya, we have decided to divert from the old magnetic strip technology to enhance the security of our clients," Mr Kariuki Ngari, the bank’s Executive Director in-charge of Consumer Banking told a media briefing in Nairobi on Thursday.

Card skimming

Ngari said Platinum credit card is a new category of elite credit cards from Visa International.

He said the cards have been built on the new chip and pin technology, which has been used successfully in many developed markets to reduce cases of card skimming.

"We hope that other players will take cue and help this vice," said Ngari. It is widely argued that banks should place pictures in ATMs to create awareness and promote the option of chipped cards, as this is the most secure transaction facility available.

Ngari said the newly-introduced Platinum and Gold credit cards offer rewards and cash-back on spending.

He said SCB’s entry into the credit market is in line with the retail business’ customer-centric approach, which is anchored on three key pillars — service, solutions and relationships.

"This product is in line with our strategy of offering best-in-class banking solutions to our chosen market segments," he said.

"We want to differentiate our customer experiences through friendly, faster and accurate service, tailor made solutions for our customers financial needs, and recognising and rewarding relationships."

Platinum Card holders will earn five per cent of their total spending to a maximum of Sh500 every month, while Gold Card holders will earn five per cent to a maximum of Sh250 if they use the card to fuel.

This translates into Sh6,000 savings per year for plat

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