6 lakh SBI debit cards recalled; HDFC, Axis, ICICI, Yes Bank cards also compromised

Card network companies like NPCI, MasterCard and Visa had sent word to all the banks of the possibility of a security breach some months ago.

Deepak Kumar

6 lakh SBI (State Bank of India) debit cards have been blocked due to a suspected security breach in their financial data . Termed to be one of the largest debit card replacement in the country, the country’s nationalised bank and other major private banks are taking all steps to stem any potential trouble.

The steps taken by banks include asking their customers to change their PIN numbers of their debit-cum-ATM cards. This got escalated to the level wherein banks have changed cards when customers did not comply with changing their PIN numbers, a bank official revealed. HDFC has asked its customers not use the ATM’s of other banks.

Apparently card network companies like NPCI, MasterCard and Visa had sent word to all the banks of the possibility of a security breach due to a potential risk from some cards. As a result many banks have taken precautionary measures in blocking the cards of some account holders identified in the security run. According to bankers the breach effected in such a way that anyone using a particular bank’s ATM in the region would get affected.

A spokesperson of SBI also revealed that their bank is now issuing EMV-based debit cards, that have lesser chances of being compromised. An SBI statement read, “We are in the process of issuing new cards at no cost to those cardholders whose cards have been blocked. This is a cards industry incident and not an SBI only incident.”

However all bankers have assured the public that the breach has not led to a any monetary loss to anyone and the measures being taken are to safeguard their bank’s system against any potential threat. RBI has not issued any specific guidelines on the matter but is aware of the same.

Speaking to the correspondent of The Dollar Business, a spokesperson of Yes Bank revealed that, "YES BANK has proactively undertaken a comprehensive review of its ATMs, and there is no evidence of a breach or compromise on YES BANK ATMs. YES BANK continues to work with relevant stakeholders, including other public sector and private banks, and NPCI, to ensure utmost safety and security of its ATM network and payment services which are completely safe to use.”

Bankers say that the problem was first noticed between the months of May and July and banks had to resort to recalling of the debit cards in September. "Data processes of one private bank was compromised which affected other banks' customers well. Customers who used that bank's ATM stand to get potentially affected," said another public sector banker.

Deepak Kumar - Oct 20, 2016 12:00 IST