Singapore mandates 'kill switch' for banks as safeguard against online scams

Banks in Singapore will have to provide a “kill switch” as part of a new slew of security measures to safeguard against growing online scams. Consumers also are urged to access their accounts via mobile banking apps, instead of web browsers, to minimise risks. 

The latest set of measures would complement those introduced in January this year, shortly after a spat of online scams involving OCBC Bank customers resulted in losses of more than SG$8.5 million ($6.32 million).

The new measures were unveiled Thursday and expected to come into effect by October 31 this year, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS).  

Local banks would progressively roll out the latest round of measures, which included setting the default transaction limit for online funds transfers to no higher than SG$5,000 and requiring additional confirmation from customers to process “significant changes” to their accounts. Further confirmations also would be required for high-risk transactions identified through fraud surveillance. 

Banks also must assign bank staff to the Singapore Police Force Anti-Scam Centre, in order to facilitate “rapid” account freezing and fund recovery operations. 

The emergency self-service kill switch must enable customers to suspend their accounts quickly should they suspect a security breach,

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