The Japanese Bankers Association urged its 180 member banks Tuesday to reinforce measures protecting depositors from growing bank-card forgery.

The announcement comes amid mounting criticism over banks’ lack of anticrime measures and their alleged reluctance to pay compensation to victims.

“This is a serious problem that could threaten the security of bank deposits,” said Yoshifumi Nishikawa, chairman of the association and president of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

Several recommendations were agreed to during a JBA executive meeting.

One suggested measure is to introduce new technologies, including cards embedded with integrated circuits and biometric identification.

IC cards can protect personal information better than conventional cards. Biometrics technology can identify cardholders by the vein patterns in their palms.

Other measures include improving the security of four-digit personal identification numbers, lowering the upper limit of the amount of money that can be withdrawn from automatic teller machines each day and developing savings accounts covered by insurance.

Some banks have already taken some of these steps.

Nishikawa also said sincere steps should be taken to compensate victims, especially if they haven’t been found at fault.

According to the JBA, the number of victims of bank card-related crimes came to 122 in the six months to September, already exceeding that for the entire year that ended last March 31.

Earlier this month, police from Tokyo and two neighboring prefectures arrested seven suspected members of a ring that allegedly withdrew more than 300 million yen from private bank accounts using stolen bank card information.

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