The Straits Times
Published on Nov 17, 2012

Expensive problem with new bank security tokens


SINGAPORE banks will be introducing a new security token to replace the current one. Unlike the present token, the new one introduces the need for the bank to send an OTP (one-time password) via SMS to the customer's cellphone for each online transaction.

It would seem that the banks expect their customers to take along their cellphones when travelling overseas, the exorbitant roaming charges levied by telcos notwithstanding. It gets even more inconvenient when customers visit countries that do not use our GSM system but some other network, like CDMA. Our cellphones will not work in such cases.

I am sure many Singaporeans going overseas get around the roaming charge by buying a local SIM card upon arrival. Each SIM card comes with its unique phone number.

However, Singapore banks require customers to provide their overseas cellphone numbers in advance as they require a few days to process the numbers. This is impractical.

Why do the banks not send the OTP via e-mail instead? I do not think my bank can explain this since the system is not unique to an individual bank.

Denis Distant