Media Releases
Published Date: 20 February 2014

MAS: Security Measures for Payment Cards in Singapore are Robust

Singapore, 19 February 2014…  The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said today that security measures in place for payment cards1 in Singapore were robust by international standards but card customers should nonetheless take the necessary precautions when using their cards.  MAS was responding to media queries about unauthorised online purchases made at a Taiwanese merchant, some of which were made using payment cards issued in Singapore.

2   MAS noted that there has been a rise in incidents of data theft and fraud involving payment cards in many jurisdictions around the world.  MAS has therefore been emphasising to financial institutions in Singapore that they are required to implement the necessary controls to protect customers from unauthorised access to their information and fraudulent transactions.

3   Singapore is one of the few countries in the world to have put in place a comprehensive set of security measures for payment cards. Banks in Singapore have taken several measures in recent years, including:

  • migration of magnetic stripe cards to the more secure EMV chip cards;
  • implementation of a dynamic password (One-Time-Password) to authenticate customers before online transactions with participating merchants are approved;
  • SMS/email notification to customers each time a card transaction is made or a pre-approved limit is exceeded; and
  • secure activation procedures for new and replacement cards. 

There has been no evidence to-date of a breach of payments security among banks in Singapore.

4   MAS cautioned, however, that payment card transactions also involve parties (e.g. merchants) other than regulated financial institutions. Data theft can occur at these entities. Preliminary investigations indicate that this was the case in the recent incident of unauthorised online purchases charged to Singapore payment cards. MAS has received confirmation from the banks that most affected customers have been contacted and assured that they would not be liable for the unauthorised charges.

5   MAS advised customers to take the necessary precautions in using their payment cards. It referred customers to recent advice issued by the Association of Banks in Singapore for shopping safely online. Customers who take responsibility for the safety of their payment cards will not be held liable for unauthorised charges made to their cards.

1 Includes credit, debit, pre-paid and ATM cards.