Written on: 31/10/2011
No doubt Debit Cards issued by Private Banks in India with VISA ELECTRON endorsement has several positive features, but I would like to point out a major risk with this type of card in India.
Last week, while shopping, I lost my HDFC Debit Card from my purse unknowingly. The following day, I got an email alert stating that a transaction of Rs.7,500/- was carried out using my card. It was then I realized that I had lost my card and I immediately informed my bank to block my card and the bank obliged.
Since the transaction was carried out in a departmental store selling TVs, Refrigerators etc. near the place where I lost the card, I visited the shop where the transaction was carried out.
I talked to the floor supervisor of the Departmental Store and he informed that a person of about 30 years came to the shop and was in a hurry to purchase a TV. Due to Diwali rush, the shop was not interested in verifying the credentials of the purchaser. They were interested in only making the sale. As the debit card was used, they were sure that they will get their money instantaneously as their bankers were also HDFC Bank.
The Departmental Store did not have the following safety checks, which is essential.
1. The billing clerk did not bother to see the gender of the person presenting the card. ( I am a lady and the name in the card reflects this status while the presenter was a man.)
2. The metal detectors installed at the entrance of the store as well as the Video Surveillance system was NOT WORKING though local police have been insisting on these measures.
3. The billing clerk did not ask the purchaser to present any identity proof.
4. MAJOR FLAW: The major flaw with the VISA ELECTRON endorsed HDFC Bank card is THAT THE VITAL PIN NUMBER FEATURE IS NOT IMPLEMENTED WHILE MOST OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR BANKS USING MAESTRO ENDORSEMENT COMPULSORILY ASK FOR THE PIN NUMBER BEFORE AUTHENTICATING ANY PURCHASE.
5. The culprit fraudulently used my card for purchasing a TV, swiped my card to make the payment and left the shop in a jiffy putting me into a financial loss.
When I complained to HDFC Bank, they informed that I lodge a FIR with the local police station and they will reimburse my loss. All our countrymen are aware that lodging a FIR in a police station is a herculian task with the Police asking us to go to a different police station stating that it is not in their jurisdiction. The Police do not help in any way for lodging a FIR for the reasons best known to them. I am driven from pillar to post for lodging a FIR and I am not sure whether I will get back my money after that.
Due to the abovementioned flaw, I have become poorer by Rs.7,500/-. I should thank my stars that the culprit did not empty my complete account.
Under the circumstances, my advice to persons using private bank debit cards in India to for MAESTRO endorsement instead of ELECTRON VISA as the former is safer and insists on entering of PIN for each and every transaction.
This is very important in India as the traders are only interested in selling their products and care two hoots about the customers.