Banks start rolling out more secure chip-based ATM cards

Banks in Singapore will replace their customers' old ATM cards with new ones that contain an embedded chip, starting this month, May.

DBS will start their migration exercise from May, OCBC from August and 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 to facilitate communication.

They can call the respective banks' hotlines for more details.

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

The move to the EMV (Europay-MasterCard-Visa) chip card was announced in January last year, as one of the various payment card security measures introduced in Singapore after a syndicate defrauded DBS customers of $1 million by skimming their ATM cards.

Skimming is where data from an ATM card is secretly copied onto a blank card's magnetic stripe. The copied cards are then used to make unauthorised withdrawals. The ABS said that data encoded on the magnetic stripe card is easily read and copied making it easier for a magnetic stripe card to be duplicated.

The industry is expected to complete the migration exercise by end 2014.