SINGAPORE: Three of the biggest banks in Singapore are rolling out new features that allow clients to lock their accounts amid the rise of digital threats from fraudsters who use malware and phishing scams to steal money from accounts.

UOB was first on Nov 24 to announce the UOB LockAway Account, followed by OCBC’s Money Lock feature. Both will take effect on Nov 30. DBS, which has not one but two new features for locking accounts, has digiVault, which takes effect on Dec 7, as well as another feature that allows clients to lock up their fixed deposits, rolled out on Nov 27 (Monday). UOB says that LockAway prevents unauthorized digital intrusion and protects its clients from rash decisions. In a UOB LockAway Account, funds are prevented from being used in all online transactions, including digital payments and outbound transfers.

“The enhanced account security better protects customers against digital threats, and protects them from reacting impulsively to scammer demands,” explained UOB in a media release, adding that clients may only access their locked-up funds at UOB branches when they present their identity cards or passports to branch staff for verification before any transaction is allowed.

See also  Man orders $22 McDonald's meal that was delivered to the wrong unit, but said neither foodpanda nor UOB helped him

As for OCBC’s new security feature, Money Lock, a client’s funds cannot be used in:

  • Local and overseas transfers, even between a customer’s accounts
  • New or existing payment arrangements, e.g., GIRO, standing instructions or future-dated transfers
  • Bill or credit card payments
  • Fixed deposit placements or investments
  • Insurance purchases or payments
  • Loan or tax repayments
  • ATM withdrawals or transfers

Activating the Money Lock feature may be done through the OCBC Digital app or Internet Banking. To do so, clients then decide the amount they wish to lock in a chosen deposit account in multiples of S$10. The maximum allowable amount for Money Lock is the available balance in the bank account. The minimum amount that can be locked is S$10.

To unlock funds, clients must go to OCBC ATMs or branches. At OCBC’s ATMs, authentication requires a physical ATM, debit or credit card, and the client’s PIN.

“This secure offline process adds necessary friction to prevent scammers from unlocking the funds after gaining unauthorized access to customers’ bank account login credentials or mobile devices,” OCBC added.

See also  First car owner goes through his biggest nightmare dealing with second-hand main car salesman, Netizens warn: ‘Lots of scammer car dealers out there’

With DBS’ digiVault, a client’s funds are similarly locked within a designated account, disallowing no transfers from it. If the client wants to access their funds, they must go to a DBS/POSB branch and request to do so. This will only be allowed after verification of a customer’s identity.

Additionally, DBS customers may lock up their fixed deposits, which would prevent premature digital fund withdrawals or changes to maturity instructions for enhanced security. Changes to their fixed deposits must also be done personally for enhanced protection.

“With this new option to lock their fixed deposits, customers reduce the risk of scammers prematurely withdrawing their fixed deposit funds digitally, should they gain unauthorised access to customers’ phones and accounts,” DBS said.

Read also: Love scam: UOB staff prevents 70-year-old woman from sending S$50K to overseas “husband” /TISG