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Banks in Singapore to introduce more digital banking security measures, including 'kill switch'

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·Finance Editor
·3-min read
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Singapore banks to have more anti-scam measures by 31 October, the MAS and SBF said. (PHOTO: Getty Creative)
The new measures are progressively being implemented by banks in consultation with the MAS and the Singapore Police Force. (PHOTO: Getty Creative)

SINGAPORE — Banks in Singapore will have to provide a "kill switch" for customers to suspend their accounts quickly if they suspect their bank accounts have been compromised, as part of new measures that will be introduced to protect customers from digital banking scams.

The new measures are progressively being implemented by banks in consultation with the central bank and the Singapore Police Force (SPF), and are expected to take full effect by 31 October, according to a statement by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) on Thursday (2 June).

The added measures complement those announced on 19 January, which include the removal of clickable links in e-mails or SMSes sent to retail customers and having a delay of at least 12 hours before activation of a new soft token on a mobile device.

To minimise the risk of navigating to fraudulent websites, bank customers are strongly encouraged to use mobile banking apps, as opposed to web browsers, the statement said.

"Banks will continue to enhance the functionality of their banking apps, and assist customers to make the transition towards greater use of these apps,” the MAS and ABS said.

The new measures include:

- requiring additional customer confirmations to process significant changes to customer accounts and other high-risk transactions identified through fraud surveillance;

- setting the default transaction limit for online funds transfers to S$5,000 or lower;

- facilitating rapid account freezing and fund recovery operations by co-locating bank staff at the SPF Anti-Scam Centre;

- enhancing fraud surveillance systems to take into account a broader range of scam scenarios

Further, a committee of seven domestic systemically important banks will be established as the ABS Standing Committee on Fraud to take forward the work of the Anti-Scam Taskforce established in 2020.

The committee will report directly to the ABS Council and will drive the industry's anti-scam efforts, implement robust measures to safeguard customers, and reinforce public confidence in the security of digital banking, said MAS and ABS.

Under the committee, the ongoing anti-scam work of the industry will be formalised into five key areas covering customer education, authentication, fraud surveillance, customer handling, and recovery and equitable loss-sharing.

The MAS reminded customers they have a role in the fight against scams, and must keep up with online banking hygiene practices as scam tactics evolve.

These include keeping up with scam advisories and alerts put out by the police, the National Crime Prevention Council, MAS and banks. They should also refer to official sources, such as the MAS Financial Institution Directory and cards issued by banks, for hotline numbers and website addresses to communicate with banks.

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