MCB Bank Ltd. has become the first bank in Pakistan to launch a EMV chip debit card in collaboration with Euronet Pakistan, a subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide.

Launched Jan. 18, the Visa-branded card makes MCB the first bank in the country to depart from issuing cards that solely have a magnetic stripe, even though the country’s central bank is not requiring cards to have chips.

“We have launched an EMV debit card (because) it is a more secure way for our customers to bank and not fear the theft of identity and account information,” a spokesperson for the bank tells PaymentsSource.

MCB has Pakistan’s largest debit card base at 2.5 million cards, and it deploys 650 ATMs across the country, according to the spokesperson.

Because Pakistan’s point-of-sale infrastructure is not yet fully ready to handle chip-based transactions, the card will support mag-stripe payments for the time being, the spokesperson adds.

The free card comes in three variants–Gold Plus, Gold and Silver. The Silver card comes with a daily ATM-withdrawal limit of 10,000 rupees (US$110 or 84 euros) and a purchase limit of 25,000 rupees, while the Gold card comes with a withdrawal limit of 25,000 rupees and purchase limit of 100,000 rupees.

The Gold Plus card has an ATM-wthdrawal limit of 50,000 rupees and a purchase limit of 150,000 rupees.

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