Signature-Enabled Debit and Credit Cards to Be Phased out Industry-Wide

by Sarah Grotta 0

In contrast to the U.S payments market which is moving towards more frictionless card transactions and specifically PIN-less transactions, Malaysia is undertaking a change towards PIN’ed transactions, and changing its citizens’ payment habits. As explained in the referenced article, the government is orchestrating a country-wide, mandated switch to only PIN-based transactions at the point of sale:

Come Jan 1, the industry-wide transition from signature to PIN would be completed and cardholders would be required to key in their six-digit pin for transactions over point-of-sales (POS) terminals.
Those who have received their PIN-enabled cards, but have yet to activate it may soon find themselves stalled at the counter when a transaction is being made if they are to use their old cards

Promotional materials indicate that Malaysia is similarly requiring all merchants to upgrade their terminals to accept the 6-digit PINs.

It does appear that there will be a bit of a cushion as the payment industry gets use to the new way of doing business.

Anticipating cases where cardholders may not be able to remember their PIN, there would also be a PIN bypass period until July 1 next year when cardholders can sign instead of entering their PIN for purchases. The signature system would be completely turned off after the six-month period.

Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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