With the internet becoming more pervasive, scammers are on the prowl to cheat innocent victims in all ways possible of their hard-earned savings. Banks, who are generally the custodians of our savings, have come up with a way to prevent people with ill intentions from stealing our savings out of our bank accounts.
Customers of Singapore’s three local banks (DBS, UOB, and OCBC) will now be able to put a lock on their savings (and stow away the “key”).
This security feature means that locked funds cannot be digitally used or moved. A physical verification will be required to unlock the funds.
The banks announced the move on Monday (Nov 27). Although it’s not exactly a timely decision since scammers have been making away with customers’ monies for quite some time, it is nevertheless a good step in the right direction. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the “money lock” measures by the local banks complement anti-scam efforts that have been progressively implemented since 2022.
When Will This “Lock” Security Feature Start
OCBC and UOB customers can lock their savings from Nov 30, 2023. This means that your Christmas bonus and (for civil servants, your year-end civil service bonus) can be safely tucked away and you can party and celebrate the month more at ease.
DBS will roll out the “lock” account security feature by Dec 7, 2023.
How Can I Sign Up For This With My Bank (DBS, UOB, OCBC)
OCBC customers can lock your monies in your existing accounts via online banking or the OCBC Digital app using OCBC Money Lock.
As for UOB customers, you will have to set up UOB LockAway Accounts on the bank’s website and UOB TMRW app. You can also set this up at UOB branches.
For DBS customers, you will be able to access the security feature through the digiVault account.
But How Do I Withdraw The Monies That Are Locked
You can “unlock” and access your funds at the banks’ branches. For OCBC, you will need to verify at the ATMs your debit or credit card and your personal identification number (PIN). You can also access your funds physically from the bank branches.
UOB customers can access funds in their LockAway Accounts only at physical bank branches. You will have to present your identity card or passport to the branch staff for verification. UOB is currently evaluating ATM withdrawals for this service.
DBS customers will need to raise a physical request at DBS or POSB branches to access the funds in your digiVault account.
Any Special Interest Rates Or Minimum Balance For These Accounts
DBS is offering an additional 1.8% per annum interest on customers’ average daily balance in digiVault accounts – this promotional period that will end on Feb 29, 2024. Those who have multiple digiVault accounts will only enjoy the promotional interest rate for the first account.
UOB’s LockAway Accounts will not require minimum initial deposit or balance requirements. There will be no chequebook issued and no existing cards will be linked to the accounts. The bank will announce the interest rates for the LockAway Account soon.
OCBC customers can “lock” your funds in multiples of $10, with the maximum amount as the available balance in your bank account. You will require a minimum of $10 to initiate the lock. Funds locked in your account are aggregated with the funds that are not locked, to calculate the interest to be earned.
Some Banks Are Offering “Locking” Up Of Fixed Deposit Accounts
DBS is also offering the locking of customers’ single-name fixed deposit accounts to enhance security by preventing premature digital fund withdrawals or changes to maturity instructions. But once a customer sets this up, they will need to personally visit a bank branch to verify their identity if they want to unlock their fixed deposits.
OCBC is offering similar fixed deposits and will roll them out from the first quarter of 2024.
How Will The Changes Cut Down Bank Scams
The moves will help prevent scammers from prematurely withdrawing funds from bank accounts even if they gain unauthorised access to customers’ phones and accounts.
You can go to sleep knowing that large sums of your money are safely tucked away from internet access, and you can play an active part in combating scams as you limit the funds that can potentially be lost to scammers from malware and phishing.
Any Other Considerations Before I “Lock” My Money Up
Customers should only “lock” excess funds that you do not expect to use in the near future. That’s because some situations could lead you to be stranded without money if you “lock” too much of your funds up and lead to inconveniences.
For example, if you lose your wallet containing your bank cards and you need to access your funds for an emergency but it is after bank hours, you will realise that you are at an impasse as you do not have access to your ATM and you will have to wait until the following day. Without your identification documents, you may not even be able to access the money at the bank branches.
It is better to split up your money pot into various portions: A small pot of emergency funds that can be accessed easily via digital banking and a larger pot to be “locked up” and safely guarded with physical authentication for fund access.
Featured Image Credit: DBS, CapitaLand Malls
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