CARDS & PAYMENTS | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore irons out customer liability in updated e-payments guideline

Accountholders must provide their contact details for notifications during online transactions.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has updated its E-Payments User Protection Guidelines to clarify that the guidelines do not override customers’ instructions to their financial institutions on transaction notification thresholds for e-payments, an announcement revealed.

Under the guidelines, financial institutions (FIs), such as banks, are expected to provide notifications to their customers for all e-payment transactions. These notifications allow customers to monitor e-payment transactions, and report unauthorised transactions promptly to their financial institutions.

The account holder of a protected account should therefore provide the responsible FI with contact details as required in order for them to send the account holder transaction notifications. Where the protected account is a joint account, the account holders should jointly give instructions on whether the responsible FI should send transaction notifications to any or all the account holders.

“It is the account holder’s responsibility to enable transaction notification alerts on any device used to receive transaction notifications from the responsible FI, to opt to receive all transaction notifications for all outgoing transactions of any amount made from the account holder’s protected account, and to monitor the transaction notifications sent to account contact,” MAS underlined, adding that financial institutions may assume that the account holder will monitor such transaction notifications without further reminders or repeat notifications.

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The agency further noted in its revamped guideline that financial institutions must explain and highlight the duties of the account holder with regard to the liability framework and how any relevant claim by an account holder will be resolved. Financial institutions are also encouraged to provide transaction notifications for payments to the account holder’s protected account as a matter of good practice to provide consumers with a fuller view of their e-payments.

The guidelines however, did not address situations where a customer chooses to receive fewer notifications of transactions that are above specified thresholds and of certain payment types.

In response to customer feedback, MAS has updated the guidelines to clarify that customers can continue to set their preferred transaction notifications even after the guidelines take effect on 30 June 2019. “As these preferred notification settings result in fewer notifications sent to the customer, there may be implications on his ability to monitor for unauthorised transactions and his liability for such transactions,” the agency said in a statement. 

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