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Singapore banks speed up switch to microchip credit cards

Banks in Singapore are playing catch-up with their European counterparts and switching to microchip credit cards amid customer concerns over security, news reports said on Thursday.

DBS, OCBC, Standard Chartered and HSBC plan to start replacing magnetic strip cards with microchip ones in the next few months. Only United Overseas Bank, with more than 1 million card holders, has already adopted the new technology and replaced all its cards to chip-embedded ones at a cost of 12 million Singapore dollars ($8 million), according to The Straits Times breakdown. The switch will help ease concerns from customers over security and problems getting their magnetic strip cards accepted in some Western European countries. Britain uses chip cards and personal identification numbers to combat fraud. Magnetic strip cards can also be copied using skimming devices in automated teller machines (ATMs), the report said. Such cases of fraud “have been on the rise,” Vincent Tan, a DBS Bank’s senior vice-president, was quoted as saying. Microchip cards store encrypted data and are far more difficult to copy, the banks said. (m&c.com)