Financial institutions in Singapore have been steadily tightening security, especially in the wake of widespread ATM card skimming earlier this year. In 2010, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) mandated certain measures to better protect consumers. Today, all the major local banks implement the use of two-factor authentication sent using text messages, or a one-time PIN stored inside physical key fobs.

Citibank Singapore has implemented technology that allows customers to deactivate their credit card using a text message. This innovation is a world first according to the bank, and Citibank expects that it will be welcomed by customers. This measure is implemented with other security enhancements mandated by industry body The Association of Banks in Singapore, including real-time text message alerts for large cash withdrawals from local and overseas ATMs.

Han Kwee Juan, CEO of Citibank Singapore, explained that text message deactivation will save the customer from needing to call to report the loss of their credit card, and then having to wait a couple of days to receive a new credit card. As reported on Channel News Asia, Han said:

“But what we have offered to the customer is – now all you need to do is to send an SMS to 7-Citi, or 72484 and that in itself will allow you to deactivate the card based on your card’s last four digits.”

Users can also reactivate their credit card by text message; for instance, if they misplace their wallets and later recover it; I’m not sure if I would be so flippant as to assume that my credit card number and security code has not been compromised prior to its return to me though. However, the measure is certainly a great convenience if one is prone to leaving their credit cards at home with the mistaken assumption that it has been lost.