Hong Kong Banking Industry Introduces Enhanced Security Controls for ATM Services

Press Releases

19 Oct 2012

Hong Kong Banking Industry Introduces Enhanced Security Controls for ATM Services

The Hong Kong banking industry will adopt chip-based technology to further strengthen the security of ATM (“Automated Teller Machine”) services.  In accordance with a circular dated 1 June 2011 issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”), which sets out the chip card implementation details, authorized institutions (“AIs”) offering ATM services are expected to complete the upgrading of their ATM terminals by the end of February 2013 to support chip-based authentication. The AIs concerned are also expected to complete the card replacement process by phases between 2014 and 2015.

As an additional step to enhance the security of using ATM services, the overseas ATM cash withdrawal capability for all ATM cards (including debit cards and credit cards) issued by AIs in Hong Kong will be pre-set as “deactivated” with effect from 1 March 2013. This is to prevent fraudsters from withdrawing cash from a cardholder’s account at ATMs outside Hong Kong using counterfeit magnetic-stripe cards with the card data obtained from card skimming. Given this security feature, cardholders are reminded to activate the overseas cash withdrawal capability before traveling, if they think they may need to withdraw cash from ATMs outside Hong Kong.  They could specify an expiry date for the activation period and set an overseas ATM cash withdrawal limit that is lower than the limit for local cash withdrawal.

Deputy Chief Executive of the HKMA, Arthur Yuen, said “Although ATM fraud is not a significant fraud in Hong Kong in the past years, it is important for Hong Kong to stay at the forefront of the technology and be in line with international trend.  Chip-based ATM cards offer greater security and protection to the sensitive data stored within the chip and therefore can further enhance the security of current ATM platform.”

Chairperson of the Hong Kong Association of Banks, Anita Fung, said “In May 2010, HKAB set up a task force on ATM Fraud Prevention to study the adoption of chip-based technology in Hong Kong to strengthen ATM security. To help customers better understand the new ATM security measures, individual banks will communicate to their customers on the new measures, in particular the activation of overseas ATM cash withdrawal capability. ATM cardholders are advised to pay attention to the notices distributed by their banks and contact their banks if in doubt.”

19 October 2012

For media enquiries, please contact

Hong Kong Monetary Authority
Yokee Wong, Manager (Communications), at 2878 1213 or
Natalie Wu, Officer (Communications), at 2878 8246

Hong Kong Association of Banks
Ronie Mak, Secretary, at 2521 1169

Latest Press Releases
Last revision date : 19 October 2012