Signed up yet for new SingPass feature?

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Those who haven't registered for 2FA will get letters with a PIN to help them

Residents yet to register for SingPass' new two-factor authentication (2FA) will automatically receive a PIN code to help them enrol. Letters will be sent between next month and April containing a PIN which they must use to activate the 2FA by July 4.

From July 5, the 2FA will be compulsory for all sensitive e-transactions with the Central Provident Fund Board, Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, Ministry of Manpower and Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.

The process uses a one-time randomly generated password (OTP) delivered via SMS or a token that looks like a mini-calculator.

The OTP must be entered in addition to the usual SingPass - a password set up since 2003 - and NRIC number for accessing e-government services.

"We are consistently improving our e-services to ensure they are as user-friendly as possible without compromising security," said Ms Jacqueline Poh, managing director of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), which administers SingPass.

2FA feature was launched last July to counter security breaches. But confusion dogged user sign-ups until recently.

The IDA has declined to reveal how many of the 3.3 million SingPass users have signed up for 2FA so far. The Straits Times reported last September that sign-ups were only in the five-digit range.

Last month the IDA simplified the method of signing up .

The first step involves users going to SingPass' website to update their particulars and select either SMS or token as the medium for receiving the OTP.

From the middle of next month, SingPass users can also send an SMS to register for 2FA. Details will be released closer to the date.

They must then wait up to seven days to receive their PIN letter.

IDA said it will also send out PIN letters to those who did not register to help them enrol.

The second step involves entering the PIN and NRIC number on a website to activate the 2FA feature. From today, SingPass users can also activate their 2FA via SMS. (See table below.)

Businessman Harry Chew, 46, said he is "confused" about the current process and will wait to receive the PIN. He also suggested that the IDA considers fingerprint sensors.

How to activate 2FA via SMS Send an SMS to 78111 with the message:

ACT SMS NRIC PIN in mailer. This will activate SMS as the medium for receiving the OTP.

To activate the calculator-like token called OneKey issued by IDA's subsidiary Assurity Trusted Solutions, the message is:

ACT Token NRIC PIN in mailer OTP generated from the token.

To activate both, the message is:

ACT Both NRIC PIN in mailer OTP generated from the token.

This article was first published on January 30, 2016. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.