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Thu 8 Jan 2009 07:08 AM

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Saudi bank rolls out advanced ATMs

World's largest Islamic bank by market capital teams up with Visa to offer new cash machines.

Al Rajhi Bank, the largest Islamic Bank in the world in terms of market capital, has announced that it is installing advanced ATMs across Saudi Arabia that accept chip-cards based on international standards.

Visa operates the world’s largest retail electronic payments network and has provided technical and consultancy support for the installation, which will enable all Visa chip card transactions to take place using the chip on the card rather than the less secure magnetic strip.

The new ATMs will be situated at malls, streets, petrol stations, hospitals, airports and hotels and some are already in operation. The ATMs will still be able to accept cards without a chip, the bank said.

“We have installed dozens of new ATM machines around the country, as part of our ongoing investments in technologies, and commitment to providing excellent banking services,” said Dr Saleh Ibrahim al-Furaih, head of Credit Cards at Al Rajhi Bank.

Chip-cards, or smart cards, are an updated version of standard payment cards that have many advantages such as increased safety, additional features and greater convenience.

Al Rajhi Bank obtained the licence to install the new ATMs from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).

“A chip transaction is secure and these new ATMs will make it even less likely that a Visa chip cardholder will have their card used fraudulently,” said Ihab Ayoub, general manager, Visa for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen.

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