Visa says all credit cards issued in New Zealand will be Chip and PIN from next month, with signature-based transactions at the point-of-sale phased out by 2012.
The firm is working with banks and retailers to upgrade around 2.6 million cards and thousands of payment terminals and ATMs. Debit and reloadable cards will be upgraded from 2012.
From 2012 New Zealanders will be unable to use mag-stripe cards with a signature at the checkout.
The firm says signatures will still be accepted on overseas-issued mag stripe or chip cards without PINs "to ensure international visitors could continue to shop with ease when visiting New Zealand".
Sean Preston, country manager, New Zealand, Visa, says: "Chip technology will also offer banks and merchants the ability to provide their customers with benefits such as faster transactions, innovations such as contactless payments and the opportunity to store information such as reward programs on their cards."
Visa is already working to migrate around 14 million cards to chip and PIN in Australia and will ban signature transactions in Australia by April 2013.
In the UK, authorities have credited the technology, which has been compulsory for four years, with helping to significantly cut high street card fraud.