More S'poreans opt for online banking

More S'poreans opt for online banking

Summary: Banks report increase in online users and transactions; some are sticking to their chosen modes of second-factor authentication, for now.

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SINGAPORE--Banks are seeing higher uptake of Internet banking, and have no plans--at least for the time being--to implement new modes of second-factor authentication.

Nearly 18 months after two-factor authentication (2FA) was mandated in Singapore, banks ZDNet Asia spoke with indicated a favorable trend in the usage of online banking services.

Shee Tse Koon, CIO of Standard Chartered Bank, said in an e-mail interview that, as of November 2007, the bank's Internet banking customers constituted 25 percent of its overall customer base.

Over the past two years, the number of online transactions jumped more than four times and transaction values grew by over eight times, Shee said. The bank sees an average of 200,000 Internet banking logins a month, he added.

According to Shee, the SMS-based 2FA mode offers convenience to customers, while the hardware token serves "as a backup" particularly for customers who travel and may not be able to retrieve their security PINs via SMS.

OCBC Bank is the only bank in Singapore to offer three modes of 2FA: hardware token, SMS and software-based token on the mobile phone.

The bank's Internet banking customer base has grown 17 percent since 2FA was introduced, according to Patrick Chew, OCBC's head of delivery for group consumer financial services. Chew said the bank has seen an increase in transaction volumes and values, but did not indicate by how much.

Happy with status quo
Financial institutions in Singapore, most of which completed the full rollout of 2FA last year, appear satisfied with their chosen mode of second-factor authentication.

Standard Chartered's Shee said the bank currently has two modes of 2FA--hardware tokens and SMS--but will "continue to monitor developments in the IT security space and decide on a balance between risks and customer experience".

A spokesperson from DBS Bank told ZDNet Asia that hardware token is still the only mode offered by the bank, and did not comment on whether it was considering introducing other 2FA modes.

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