PKO Bank Polski S.A., Poland’s largest bank, has selected Gemalto NV as its partner in converting its entire consumer debit card portfolio from magnetic-stripe to contactless chip-and-PIN technology, the two companies announced Dec. 1.

The Polish bank in September began issuing Visa payWave-enabled EMV debit cards to customers and plans to ship 6.5 million cards by the end of 2011. The bank serves a total of 8.5 million customers.

The contactless cards enable customers to tap and pay for purchases up to 50 zloty ($US16 or 12 euros) at “thousands” of retail outlets in Poland, including fast-food outlets, movie theaters and pharmacies, the companies said.

The deployment marks the first time a Polish bank has converted its entire portfolio to contactless at once and also is the largest contactless card rollout so far by a Polish bank, according to Gemalto.

Despite its scale, the bank plans for the “massive” rollout to unfold smoothly in “a short period of time,” Katarzyna Sosin, PKO Bank’s director of credit cards and card transactions, said in a statement.

PKO Bank operates 1,211 branches across Poland.


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