Singapore

Credit and debit cards to be deactivated for overseas use

Credit and debit cards to be deactivated for overseas use
TODAY file photo
The move is in line with the Association of Banks in Singapore's plan to phase out magnetic stripe technology
Published: July 29, 11:51 PM

SINGAPORE — All card-issuing banks here will deactivate the magnetic stripes on credit and debit cards by Oct 1, under a directive by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS).

The move is in line with the association’s plan to phase out magnetic stripe technology — which is vulnerable to skimming — by next year to enhance card security. In January last year, a case of ATM card-skimming fraud led to S$1 million stolen from the accounts of 700 DBS and POSB customers. Under the ABS’ requirement, banks have the discretion to set their own criteria for implementation.

One of the card-issuing banks here, HSBC, said that it will disable the magnetic stripe on all its credit and debit cards so that they cannot be used for overseas retail purchases outside of Singapore.

HSBC cardholders can apply to use their cards for overseas retail purchases each time they travel through “a few simple self-service steps” on the bank’s hotline, where they need to state the start and end date of their travel period.

HSBC added that the bank will auto-enroll the cards of customers whose records show that they have use their cards overseas or have an overseas address. Both the deactivation and enrollment service will be implemented within next month.

Other rules that have been introduced by the ABS include the cessation of domestic point-of-sale magnetic stripe transactions for locally-issued credit and debit cards and deactivation of overseas ATM cash withdrawal.