I have been robbed in the past by thieves using my HSBC Debit Card (issued by UAE branch) to purchase mobile phones and accessories by signing for the purchases. While the card has chip & PIN protection, HSBC mention (in the fine print) that, because not all merchants have chip & PIN, they also allow the PIN to be bypassed and sign for the purchase.
My question is...if they were able to sign for the purchase, was that using the magnetic strip? And if so, can I scratch the magnetic strip, so it can't be read and essentially have a chip & PIN-ONLY debit card?
I was told that HSBC will not refund the money as I did not protect my card (even though I always protected my PIN) and will not issue a chip & PIN-ONLY Debit Card. All UAE banks provide only a chip & PIN card with a signature option. Same goes for the "new and improved" chip and PIN credit cards.
Can I scratch off the magnetic strip to protect my money?