Thales eSecurity News Release

Thales supports Bank of Kuwait and the Middle East in implementing instant EMV card issuance

Bank of Kuwait and the Middle East (BKME) is first in the region to introduce instant issuance of EMV credit and debit cards

Thales, a leader in information systems and communications security , today announces that it is providing BKME with an instant EMV card issuance system which allows banks' branches to provide customers with a new Chip and PIN card within ten minutes. The system, which Thales has demonstrated with its partners in the region over the past four years, allows customers to apply for a card and to choose their own PIN number in the branch.

The EMV Instant Issuance implementation enables BKME to lead the way not only in the Middle East but on a global scale in issuing Chip cards. The bank is able to provide its customers with a fully personalised EMV card in the branch, reducing the cost of mailing cards and PINs to customers and eliminating the risk of cards being stolen or lost in transit. It is estimated that between 20-30% of mailed credit and debit cards are never activated or rejected, incurring unnecessary costs in terms of materials, production and delivery.

The complete system brings together the technology and expertise of Thales, Verisoft, and the local Thales partner Al Nawasi. Paul Meadowcroft, head of transaction security for the Information Systems Security activities of Thales says: “The successful introduction of the instant issuance system at BKME is the result of 12 months of planning, testing and implementing appropriate processes. We believe that we will now see other banks worldwide follow suit, especially in Saudi Arabia , where an increase in demand is evident with the SPAN domestic Debit application.”

He adds: “The implementation of instant EMV cards at BKME not only provides cost and time-saving benefits but also offers the possibility of secure instant issuance of ID and store cards in the future.”

The system has been rolled out at all 22 BKME branches in Kuwait and has been live since August 2007, working seamlessly with Thales P3 crypto modules and existing Thales HSMs purchased by the bank. The project was implemented in conjunction with Al-Nawasi, a General Trading & Contracting Company and Thales partner in Kuwait , and Verisoft, a provider of integrated software, hardware and consulting services and a Thales partner in Turkey . The solution is based on the Microsoft.net Framework comprising web-based interactive software and uses a secure PINPAD/POS terminal for branch PIN entry.