Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 08 March 2012

Reply to Parliamentary question on the recent fraudulent withdrawals from the ATMs of DBS Bank


Question No 288
Notice Paper No 81 of 2012
For Oral Answer

Date: For Parliament Sitting on 8 March 2012

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Q288 Mrs Lina Chiam, Non-Constituency Member


To ask the Prime Minister in light of the recent fraudulent withdrawals from the ATMs of DBS Bank (a) what have MAS and the Association of Banks in Singapore done to prevent such incidents from recurring at DBS Bank and other banks; and (b) whether MAS is assured that DBS Bank has definitely identified the problem behind the ATM security lapses. 

Response by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman, MAS:

1   The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) expects all financial institutions in Singapore 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.

2   MAS has been working with the financial institutions since 2010 on a comprehensive programme to strengthen the security of payment cards. The programme includes measures to reduce the risks associated with the use of magnetic stripe ATM cards.  Following the recent incident, the Association of Banks in Singapore announced, in January 2012, that the industry will adopt the EMV1 standard in ATM cards to address the risk of card skimming.  Its implementation will require infrastructure changes to the ATM networks, and will take two years for completion.  In the interim, banks are 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 assessed to be at risk. Banks are also strengthening their internal surveillance.   MAS has urged banks to implement the new measures as soon as they can, even ahead of the industry’s target timeline, where possible. 

3   DBS has assured MAS that it is treating the issue of fraudulent withdrawals with utmost priority. 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.   MAS will continue to work with the industry to enhance security measures to safeguard the integrity of consumers’ bank accounts.


1EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. It is a global standard for payment cards based on chip card technology.