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Cards International Usage

With immediate effect, a new level of security is being brought in to protect customers’ credit and debit cards from fraudulent transactions when travelling abroad.

All of QIB’s cards carry both a magnetic strip on the reverse side, and an electronic micro-chip embedded in their surface. Both contain information specific to the customer and his account; but because of the features provided by the microchip and the way they work, chip cards are the most secure solution currently available to prevent duplication of cards or of skimming data from them.

In line with new regulations and as part of QIB’s commitment to enhance the security of electronic payment cards, all magnetic strip transactions will now be blocked outside Qatar on both Debit and Credit Cards with immediate effect. Only chip based transactions will be allowed, unless customers specifically ask for the magnetic strips on their cards to be activated while they travel abroad.

How to activate the use of magnetic strip on your cards?

Should you wish to activate the use of the magnetic strip outside Qatar, you need to:

  • Call 44448444
  • Specify all the countries to which you intend to travel and plan to use QIB cards
  • Inform the call agent about the travel dates – both departure and return to Qatar
  • Specify if you want to activate the magnetic strip for Point-of-sale, or Automatic Teller Machines, or for both

Once all details have been provided, magnetic strip transactions will be activated for the period of travel only. The cards will once again be automatically blocked in the system post the expiry of the above mentioned travel period.

Why we are doing this?

The strip on the back of a credit or debit card is made up of tiny magnetic particles, similar to a small piece of cassette tape that is pasted on the back of the card. A customer’s information is written on the strip by magnetizing these tiny particles. This data can be read by an ATM or at a merchant’s Point of Sale (POS) terminal.

A chip based card has a built-in microchip which performs the same transactions as that of a magnetic strip but in a much more secure way. Chip card technology offers increased security because it reduces the risk of card skimming. Also chip credit card transactions are authenticated by a personal identification number (PIN) instead of a signature, which adds an additional level of security and speeds up the transaction time at merchant terminals; and in addition, the chip card must remain inserted in the POS terminal until the transaction is completed.

The Chip & Pin method, whereby the POS will read the card information from the Chip and will request the pin code to authorize the transaction, will continue to be active inside and outside Qatar for countries which have this feature enabled.

The magnetic strip method, whereby the POS machine reads the card information from the magnetic strip located on the back of the card without the need to enter a pin code to authorize it, will be blocked outside Qatar and it will only be activated for the specified period if the customer asks for it.

Further information can be obtained by calling 44448444.