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Pre-Diwali panic grips Customers as 3 Million Debit Cards of various Banks are believed to be ‘Tainted’

An estimated 30 lakh debit cards issued by various public or private banks are said to be affected by a potential risk of data breach

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Mumbai, October 20, 2016: In a pre-Diwali panic among customers, over three million debit cards of various banks are believed to be ‘tainted’ following a suspected security breach, and investigations have begun into the causes behind the security risks.

Several banks, including the State Bank Of India (SBI), have already started blocking their customers’ debit cards and re-issuing fresh ones to them free of cost.

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An estimated 30 lakh debit cards issued by various public or private banks are said to be affected by a potential risk of data breach.

Debit or credit cards are prone to security issues when unauthorised parties gain access to the confidential data embedded on them, even as they are being swiped in an automatic teller machine (ATM).

In the current scenario, the SBI alone has blocked more than 600,000 debit cards while assuring that the malware-related security breach was reportedly detected in the non-SBI ATM network.

The move has been undertaken to ensure that customers’ confidential personal data is not compromised while debit or credit cards are swiped for various transactions.

One of the card network companies, MasterCard said on Thursday that its “own systems have not been breached”.

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“We are working on the investigations with the regulators, issuers, acquirers, global and local law enforcement agencies and third party payment networks to assess the current situation,” a MasterCard spokesperson said.

It has advised the consumers to review their account statements and activity, and if any unusual or fraudulent transactions are suspected, they should contact the concerned bank for more assistance.

Anxious customers have started enquiring with their banks over the seriousness of the problem, whether their personal data has leaked out and if that could lead to financial implications, especially with Diwali round the corner.

On Wednesday evening, the SBI said it has blocked cards of certain customers identified by the networks as a precautionary measure, though it did not reveal the exact number of cardholders who would be hit.

The SBI emphasised that its own systems have absolutely not been compromised and existing cardholders are not at any risk and can continue to use their cards as usual.

According to banking circles, several other banks have also experienced similar problems as a few ATMs have been hit by a malware which has a high potential to compromise customers data.

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Official figures indicate that the SBI has over 20 crore active debit cards, besides 4.75 crore others of its associate banks.

In early September, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Mumbai, which controls all the retail payments systems in the country, had made it clear that there “is no compromise at NPCI and our systems are fully safe and secure.”

NPCI handles over 25 million transactions daily, including RuPay cards, of which more than 290 million are currently in circulation.(IANS)

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A Step Towards Digital India- Google Launches Digital Payment App ‘Tez’ in India

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Google launched Tez app
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Wikimedia

New Delhi, Sep 20, 2017: A day after Google launched its new digital payment app “Tez” in India, the company’s Indian-born CEO Sundar Pichai on Tuesday tweeted it will help India move closer to digital transformation.

“We hope that the launch of @TezByGoogle will help take India one step closer to your vision of @_DigitalIndia,” Pichai tweeted.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who launched the app here had said the idea of “Tez” was discussed by Pichai in January, just after demonetisation.

“Google saw a great potential in Indian economy and businesses,” Jaitley said, adding that Google’s new digital payments app over the next few months was likely to make major advances in digital transaction volumes.

Built on the Indian government-supported Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Tez allows users, free of charge, to make small or big payments straight from their bank accounts.

The app was built for India, working on the vast majority of the country’s smartphones and available in English and seven Indian languages (Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu).

The app works in partnership with four Banks — Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India — to facilitate the processing of payments across over 50 UPI-enabled banks.

According to D D Mishra, Research Director, Gartner, Tez provides promising features which are in-line with the requirements.

Also Read: Google, Twitter enable advertisers to reach racists: Reports 

“It is too early to say whether it can be a game changer as evolution in this business is going to continue, but yes it has the capabilities to bring some disruption as of now,” Mishra said in a statement.

Moreover, Google’s information about an individual’s preferences can play a good role in enabling the business to know their preferences and provide offers with interesting options.

“The mobile wallet industry too is evolving and we are at an interesting stage in this competition. Eventually, UPI payments will have an upper hand if it continues to remain free and provide better security, convenience and add more Value Added Services,” Mishra informed. (IANS)