Do banks have absolute authority over customers' funds?

Do banks have absolute authority over customers' funds?

I was shocked to learn that DBS Bank can transfer funds from account holders to pay outstanding property tax without the customers' authorisation ("Fail to pay tax despite reminder? Bank can step in"; last Thursday).

Are other banks in Singapore, including foreign ones, also allowed to do this?

This is a wake-up call for Singaporeans, to find out that banks can transfer money from their accounts without authorisation.

Do banks have absolute authority over customers' funds?

Is the Central Provident Fund Board also allowed to do the same with members' Ordinary Accounts, especially if they have accumulated more than the Minimum Sum?

The big question is: Where is the safest place to keep our money?

Should I store my savings in a "biscuit tin", or turn to banks in neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Indonesia?

I hope the authorities can clarify the rights of the people. Government agencies should not have unfettered access to citizens' assets and properties.

Lim Tong Wah


This article was first published on July 3, 2014.
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