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MUMBAI: The recent security breach resulting in over 30 lakh debit cards being exposed to malware could result in sales being hit during the Diwali period. Retail trends during the festival of Dussehra last week have shown that debit cards have overtaken credit cards in value and volume.

According to data collated by Worldline, which processes one out of every three card transactions in the country, 57% of card spends during Dussehra came from debit cards — clearly overtaking credit card expenditure. Last year, debit cards contributed only 48% of spends in terms of value. Overall, the spends for debit cards have grown 20% as against 16% for all card spending.

Although there are 60 crore debit cards in the country, over a third of these represent those issued under the Jan-Dhan Yojana and are not used for shopping. Given that most of the affected ATMs were at prime retail locations, the affected cards are likely to be those that are active at retail outlets.

Following the suspected breach in Yes Bank ATM network, managed by Hitachi Payment Services, banks have been blocking cards and either asking customers to change the PIN or are issuing fresh cards. SBI alone is replacing six lakh cards — a process which is expected to take a fortnight.

 Speaking to TOI, SBI MD Rajnish Kumar said that the bank would hasten the reissue of affected debit cards so that customers receive them well before Diwali. While some banks are advising customers to preferably use only home bank ATMs, SBI is not issuing any such advisory. “It is a matter of convenience for the customer. We cannot prevent them from using any ATM that is convenient for them,” said Kumar.
ICICI Bank has warned customers that a possible breach of information of debit cards has taken place in the ATM network of another bank.”As a precautionary measure, the PINs of debit cards used at the ATMs of that bank have been changed. This has been done in order to protect our customers from any potential fraudulent transaction,” the bank said.

MasterCard has informed customers that it is working with regulators, banks, acquirers, global and local law enforcement agencies and third-party payment networks to assess the current situation. “Any concerned consumer should review their account statements and activity. If they suspect fraudulent or unusual transactions, we encourage them to contact the bank that issues their card for assistance and more information,” said a spokesperson.