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Cardholders unsure how to activate cards

Most Singapore consumers are aware of the need to activate cards for overseas magnetic-based purchases but some don’t know how to.

That’s according to a joint study by payment technology company Visa and Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), which spells bad news for retailers when it comes to declined purchases at the register.

The study says 21 per cent of Singapore consumers are not aware of the need to activate their debit and credit cards for overseas magnetic stripe-based purchases and 24 per cent of consumers who are aware of the measure don’t know how to activate their cards.

Ooi Huey Tyng, Visa country manager for Singapore and Brunei, sees an increase in awareness but urges cardholders to take action to activate their Visa cards – both credit and debit – before they travel to avoid any inconvenience while abroad.

“Consumer education for the payments industry is a shared responsibility. Visa praises the efforts of The Association of Banks in Singapore and our bank partners to educate cardholders,” said Tyng.

The industry measure allows for certain exemptions among frequent travelers who have used their cards overseas at least once within the past year.

However, it is vital for Visa cardholders who are travelling to ensure that their cards are activated for overseas use. The survey also revealed that more than a third of young consumers in Singapore (18-34 years old) are unaware of the need to activate their debit and credit cards for overseas use.

Ong-Ang Ai Boon, director of The Association of Banks in Singapore, encourages customers, particularly younger cardholders, to contact their banks before they travel.

“While most customers are aware of the need to activate their cards for personal security, it is also essential that all cardholders understand how to activate their card before travelling. The last thing travelers need is to be inconvenienced while overseas, unable to access their card or account in order to make purchases,” said Boon.

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