HDFC Bank, an India-based bank, has commenced the migration of its credit cards to the global EMV standard for its premium-segment customers nationwide, to prevent the fraudulent skimming and misuse of credit cards.

The 500,000 smart cards for the commercial launch phase that will run until March 2011 are being supplied by the Indian subsidiary of German security technology specialists Giesecke & Devrient (G&D).

The bank has started the migration to the EMV standard with its credit and forex prepaid smart-card products on the Visa platform. HDFC Bank also plans to issue EMV smart debit cards in the near future.

Going forward, these smart cards will also serve as a multi-application platform. Applications being considered include a customer loyalty program and an electronic purse.

A Rajan, group head-operations at HDFC Bank said: “Throughout the time we have been dealing with G&D, we have always valued them as an innovative and reliable partner for payment systems and we are happy to entrust them with this vital project of EMV migration.”

Parag Rao, executive vice president and head of credit cards at HDFC Bank, said: “EMV cards offer the highest level of security to our customers especially against data compromise at the point of sale. HDFC Bank is initially targeting its premium customers by offering to upgrade existing signature-based cards to smart cards. We will also focus on customers who frequently travel overseas. The bank aims to issue over 500,000 smart credit cards to customers by March 2011.”

Axel Deininger, head of the payment division at G&D, said: “In India, HDFC Bank has given us a head start in the EMV migration business. Thanks to the experts at our Indian subsidiary, we have been in a position to provide complete EMV project consulting and operations support for HDFC Bank.”