MAS Expands Customer Security Requirements For Online Banking

June 7, 2022
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) have set out additional measures to further safeguard customers from digital banking scams.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) have set out additional measures to further safeguard customers from digital banking scams.

In the last year, Singapore’s regulator has taken an increased interest in tackling bank fraud and has been tough on banks such as DBS Bank, which was subject to a phishing scam last year.

It had already worked with ABS on developing a set of standards to safeguard customers in January.

Now, further rules have been introduced by the regulator, in collaboration with the country’s financial trade association.

“The fight against scams requires vigilance across the ecosystem. This further set of measures will strengthen customers’ ability to protect themselves against digital banking scams,” said Ho Hern Shin, deputy director for MAS, who said that the regulator will continue to work with other government agencies and financial institutions to strengthen our financial system’s resilience against scams.

In consultation with the MAS and the Singapore Police Force (SPF), banks are progressively implementing the following additional measures, which will be in full effect by the end of October this year. These measures will:

  • Require additional customer confirmations to process significant changes to customer accounts and other high-risk transactions identified through fraud surveillance.
  • Set the default transaction limit for online funds transfers to S$5,000 or lower.
  • Provide an emergency self-service “kill switch” for customers to suspend their accounts quickly if they suspect their bank accounts have been compromised.
  • Facilitate rapid account freezing and fund recovery operations by co-locating bank staff at the SPF Anti-Scam Centre.
  • Enhance fraud surveillance systems to take into account a broader range of scam scenarios.

“As an industry, we are constantly reviewing and putting in place sensible and secure measures to safeguard our customers from scams while allowing them to bank with ease,” commented Wee Ee Chong, chair of the ABS.

Combating scams, whether digital or otherwise, requires the effort and cooperation of everyone — banks, ecosystem players and customers, he added. “Public awareness and staying vigilant are key. We are committed to working together with all stakeholders to uphold the trust and confidence of digital banking.”

Bank customers have also been strongly encouraged to use mobile banking apps, as opposed to web browsers, with the MAS stating that banks will continue to enhance the functionality of their apps, and assist customers to make the transition towards greater use of these apps.

To ensure a sustained investment in the industry’s anti-scam initiatives, an ABS Standing Committee on Fraud, comprising the seven domestic systemically important banks, will take forward the work of the Anti-Scam Taskforce established in 2020, according to the MAS.

The committee will report directly to the ABS Council, while driving the industry’s anti-scam efforts, implementing robust measures to safeguard customers, and reinforcing public confidence in the security of digital banking.

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

The committee will also work alongside member banks to continually review and enhance anti-scam measures for effectiveness and relevance as the scam landscape evolves.

In addition, a draft framework aimed at achieving equitable loss sharing between consumers and financial institutions is being finalised and will be put up for public consultation as part of a revised E-Payments User Protection Guidelines soon, the MAS confirmed.

The consultation will also cover the responsibilities of other key parties in the ecosystem.

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