AUSBANC, the Association of Bank Users, has slammed Spanish banks for their “passiveness and indolence” in introducing security measures for credit cards, the fraudulent use of which last year led to a financial loss of 7'500 million pesetas. Carlos Hernández, the association's representative in the Balearics, said that Spanish banks have known for years how easy it is to duplicate documents such as credit cards with magnetic strips, but despite this they have made no effort to allocate funds for using microchips instead. Speaking at a Press conference yesterday, he said the matter was especially serious “if we take into account that net profits made by banks and savings banks on commission from the use of credit cards came to about 320'000 million pesetas last year.” He added that over the past four years the banks' net income from this source was in the region of 1.2 billion pesetas. Hernández also criticised banks for failing to comply with the good conduct code recommended by the European Union under which the holder of a credit card used illicitly by a third party would only assume maximum responsibility of 25'000 pesetas. He said that 30 per cent of the complaints against the Bank of Spain last year were over failure to comply with this commitment. France changed to microchips ten years ago, but Hernandez said that Spanish banks have not invested a single peseta, despite the fact that criminal gangs are increasingly better organised. The association is handling five cases against banks over credit card fraud and has been consulted on nearly 250 occasions.

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