Toward the transition to payments using the EMV advanced payment standard: Raising public awareness of the ability to independently choose a personal PIN code for payment cards
The Bank of Israel is working to advance the use of advanced means of payment, similar to many other countries. At the Bank of Israel’s instruction, the Israeli economy is in an accelerated process to implement the EMV standard at merchants and the volume of activity through advanced means of payment in Israel is expected to increase in the near future. The EMV standard makes it possible to accept advanced means of payment and to make smart transactions, contactless transactions, and transactions by cellphone or wearable technology instruments (such as watches). Making smart transactions at merchants (other than by phone or Internet purchases) using a physical payment card requires the use of a PIN code. The Bank of Israel will continue to closely monitor and advance preparations for the market’s transition to the EMV standard.
In order to make it easier for customers to accustom themselves to the change in payment method at merchants, the Bank of Israel has required the banks and credit card companies to enable customers to set their own PIN numbers on smart payment cards in their possession (cards with chips). Accordingly, all customers have the ability to replace the code on their smart cards, using the banks ATMs.
The data obtained from the banks and credit card companies show that since the previous campaign to raise public awareness of the ability to change PIN codes was launched in October 2019, an average of about 20,000 codes were changed per month. The Bank of Israel will soon air an additional public awareness campaign on the matter.
There is an increasing change regarding merchants’ preparedness and the number of transactions actually carried out by EMV. This activity can already be seen in various activity segments, such as: grocery store chains, electronics stores, fashion and athletic store chains, and more, as well as at businesses of various sizes from small stores to nationwide chains.
The number of merchants and terminals supporting this mechanism is expected to grow significantly in the coming months, in view of the Bank of Israel’s published guidelines concerning the transition to EMV. The first stage of these guidelines will be completed by the end of November 2020. In addition the government is providing small business with assistance in financing the implementation of EMV technology. As such it is preferable that every customer get to know his PIN code and the new transaction process beforehand. The Bank of Israel will continue to closely monitor and advance the markets’ transition to the EMV standard.
The Bank of Israel calls upon the public to make sure they remember their PIN code, and to examine whether they wish to independently set a PIN code in a simple and user-friendly manner. A wide range of information on replacing the PIN code, as well as other common questions and answers can be found at https://smart-card.org.il
 In contactless transactions of up to NIS 300, a PIN code is not required. For more information see the press release on the matter: “Advancing contactless transactions at merchants that have converted to EMV: The Bank of Israel raises the contactless transaction ceiling to NIS 300”, May 11, 2020.
 The press release regarding the campaign can be found at: