Reply to Parliamentary question on whether MAS will consider requiring banks to use fingerprint or iris recognition techniques to replace the magnetic strips used in ATM cards
Question No 132 Notice Paper No 60 of 2012 For Written Answer
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 14 February 2012
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament Q132 Ms Ellen Lee, Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC
To ask the Prime Minister whether MAS will consider requiring banks to use fingerprint or iris recognition techniques to replace the magnetic strips used in ATM cards.
Response by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman, MAS
1 MAS has been working with the financial institutions on a comprehensive payment card security enhancement roadmap since 2010. A number of security features have already been introduced for credit and debit cards. These cards now adopt a global standard known as EMV, which is based on chip card technology, to enhance security functions. Cardholders will also receive an SMS alert when transactions exceed a certain threshold. For internet purchases on 3-D Secure1 websites, the use of a one-time password adds a further layer of security.
2 The security enhancement roadmap includes measures to reduce the risks associated with the use of magnetic stripe ATM cards. Banks have deployed various anti-fraud measures, which will give greater assurance to the public that their ATM transactions are protected. Following the recent incident, banks have decided to de-activate the ATM card magnetic stripe for overseas use. This should reduce the risk of fraudulent overseas ATM transactions. Customers have to contact their banks if they wish to activate the ATM card magnetic stripe for overseas use.
3 The industry has also evaluated various options, including biometrics to upgrade the overall security architecture of ATM systems. The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) has announced that banks will adopt EMV standards for payment cards used in ATM systems by 2014. The timeline to move away from magnetic stripe is in line with those in other developed jurisdictions such as Australia and countries in the European Union. In deciding which security technology to adopt, ABS has taken into account security, reliability, convenience, costs, and cross-border interoperability. Ease of use, especially for the senior citizen, was also a consideration.
1 3-D Secure is a protocol that requires the cardholder to be authenticated by a password. For Singapore issued credit and debit cards, the password is for one-time use only, sent by SMS at the time of transaction.