Some customers of DBS and POSB received a mobile text message on the first day of the new year to urgently activate their smart chip-based debit and credit cards, as banks in Singapore move to complete the migration from magnetic stripe cards.
When contacted by the Straits Times, a DBS spokesman said: "The message in question is a reminder sent to our customers who have received their chip ATM cards 15 days prior but have not yet activated them. The cards will become invalid after 60 days without activation."
After April 1 this year, DBS will no longer accept magnetic stripe cards, the spokesman added.
UOB said it has completed its migration, with all chip cards sent out already activated. Starting from January 1, its stripe cards are no longer accepted.
OCBC told the Straits Times it completed its migration exercise before the new year. Its spokesman said that customers have 90 days to activate their chip cards upon their receipt via ATM, internet banking or at a bank branch - after which their old stripe cards will be deactivated. Customers who fail to meet this deadline will have to go down to an OCBC branch to acquire a new activated chip card.
OCBC said "only a very small number" of its customers had yet to activate their chip cards.
DBS, Singapore's largest retail bank, said it plans to complete its migration to chip cards at the end of January this year. It added that customers who have not activated their new cards can do so via its ibanking service or ATMs, or at the bank's branches.
The move to chip-embedded cards is meant to better protect bank customers against fraud. The exercise, first announced by the Association of Banks in Singapore in May 2013, was expected to complete by the end of 2014.