THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has urged banks here to speed up their efforts to implement the EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip technology in their ATM networks.
They should try their best to do so ahead of the industry's target timeline of 2014, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in Parliament yesterday.
Mr Tharman, who is also MAS chairman, was responding to queries by non-constituency MP Lina Chiam, who wanted to know more about the measures in place to prevent fraudulent withdrawals in the light of recent incidents at DBS Bank.
DBS, the country's largest bank with 4.3 million customers and 1,100 ATMs, was hit by an ATM 'skimming' syndicate earlier this year that stole $1 million from about 700 customers - the largest-ever incident in Singapore.
Mr Tharman said MAS expects all financial institutions here to have in place risk-management processes and security controls to safeguard their systems and operating capability. 'Banks are required to take prompt action to rectify any vulnerabilities or weaknesses in their systems,' he said.
In January this year, the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) said the industry would adopt the EMV standard in ATM cards to address the risks of card skimming.
ABS counts among its 142 members major banks such as DBS, UOB, OCBC, Standard Chartered, Maybank and Citibank.
In the interim, however, Mr Tharman reiterated that banks were already putting in place additional layers of security to enhance the protection of their customers' bank accounts.
These include disabling overseas withdrawals unless requested by the customer, SMS alerts for cash withdrawals above a certain threshold, and replacing ATM cards that are deemed to be at risk.
As far as DBS is concerned, the bank has assured MAS that it is treating the issue of fraudulent withdrawals 'with utmost priority', said Mr Tharman.
'MAS has required that the bank reviews all control processes to minimise the risk of ATM fraud, and will assess the adequacy of the measures being taken,' he said. 'MAS will continue to work with the industry to enhance security measures to safeguard the integrity of consumers' bank accounts.'