Safer chip cards to replace ATM cards

PHOTO: Safer chip cards to replace ATM cards

Some 6.5 million ATM cards in Singapore - the total number in circulation here - will be replaced by 2014, as the banking industry migrates to a card embedded with a chip in a move to curb fraud.

DBS will start the replacement exercise from this month, OCBC from August and United Overseas Bank (UOB) from October.

Cardholders will be getting more details from their banks, and are reminded to update their personal contact details, such as mailing addresses and mobile numbers. They can call the banks' hotlines for more details.

The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) said that chip technology provides greater security for all Singapore-based payments, including ATM cash withdrawals and Nets payments at point-of-sale terminals.

In 2011, there were about 500 incidences of fraud, out of more than 400 million transactions.

The move to the chip card was announced in January last year, after a syndicate defrauded DBS customers of $1 million by skimming their ATM cards.

Skimming involves the copying of data from an ATM card onto the magnetic stripe of a blank card, which can then be used to make unauthorised withdrawals.

The ABS said that the microprocessor chip on a chip card is protected by cryptographic encryption, preventing the contents of the chip from being copied to another card.

Retail assistant Carrie Tan, 32, said that while she welcomes a more secure ATM card, she is not sure if the impact will be felt.

"I have been using ATM cards for more than 10 years and so far, no skimming issues. As long as I can withdraw money without hassle, that is all that matters."

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