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January 20, 2022

Singapore watchdog unveils measures to bolster digital banking security

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced that it is working with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) to make digital banking safer and tackle financial fraud.

The regulator’s move comes after Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) failed to prevent a phishing scam that targeted 469 OCBC customers and resulted in losses of at least $6.31m.

Due to the rising number of phishing scams, the watchdog has asked financial institutions to put robust measures in place to detect and prevent scams along with response measures for effective handling of the event.

The lenders have been directed by the MAS to introduce the new measures in the next two weeks that include the removal of clickable links in emails/SMSes sent to retail customers.

Banks will also have to set a default S$100 ($74) or lower threshold for funds transfer transaction notifications, ensuring that there is a gap of at least 12 hours before a new soft token on a mobile device is activated and some cool-offer period before requests for key account changes are implemented.

Additionally, whenever there is a request to change a customer’s mobile number or email, a notification should be sent to the existing mobile number or email registered with the bank.

Furthermore, banks are required to set up a dedicated team for customer assistance and to deal with feedback on potential fraud and send frequent scam education alerts.

The regulator is also deepening checks on key financial providers’ fraud surveillance mechanisms to ensure they can effectively tackle the risk of online scams.

MAS managing director Ravi Menon said: “MAS, together with the Police, IMDA and other relevant government agencies, is working closely with the financial industry, the telco industry, consumer groups, and other stakeholders to strengthen our collective resilience against scam attacks.”

The Association of Banks in Singapore chairman Wee Ee Cheong said: “Together with the MAS and ecosystem players, the banking industry will continue to strengthen consumer protection measures. We also ask that the public stay vigilant given that scams continue to evolve and are executed quickly.”

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