3 banks in trial programme: Log in with SingPass, open a bank account

A simple SingPass log-in allows users to autofill online forms via MyInfo. If the facility is extended to banks, it could streamline access to their services.
A simple SingPass log-in allows users to autofill online forms via MyInfo. If the facility is extended to banks, it could streamline access to their services.ST FILE PHOTO

Trial programme to test the use of government database, MyInfo, to boost online banking services

Three banks will be trying out a system where customers can open an account by using a simple SingPass log-in.

Industry sources told The Straits Times that DBS, Standard Chartered and OCBC will be the first to give the new system a shot in a pilot programme.

The initiative is part of government moves to test the use of MyInfo in banking.

MyInfo was launched in May as a government database of citizens' personal information - ranging from name and phone number, to address, income and employment - gathered from various ministries.

The information, which is accessible only via a SingPass log-in, can be used to autofill online government forms for e-services such as applications for Housing Board flats, the Baby Bonus scheme, pet licenses or foreign domestic workers.

There are around 100,000 registered MyInfo users.

  • 100k

    Number of registered MyInfo users

Last month, the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) said MyInfo may be extended to banking services.

GovTech declined to name the participating banks, but a spokesman told The Straits Times that the agency is working with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Finance on a pilot programme that explores the "use cases" of MyInfo in banking, including account opening.

"The pilot will run for several months starting early next year, and will allow the stakeholders to fine-tune the system before its wider adoption. This includes matters of data protection and cyber security," the spokesman said.

"After a user logs in to a participating bank's online portal, he will need to give consent and perform a SingPass authentication to provide relevant personal details via MyInfo to the bank's online form."

Users will be notified whenever they give consent to the use of MyInfo profiles, and they can view records of past transactions on the MyInfo website.

DBS, Standard Chartered and OCBC also declined to confirm whether they are in the trial, but they welcomed the application of MyInfo in banking.

"Benefits of such technology include speeding up onboarding by using more channels such as mobile devices, improving data validation by accessing a trusted source, and streamlining access to banking services," DBS said. Onboarding broadly refers to bringing new customers to the business.

OCBC e-business Singapore head Aditya Gupta said the one-click account opening via MyInfo could create a "radically simpler and faster banking experience".

"So instead of heading down to a branch or filling up online forms, account opening becomes a frictionless process. For us, the efficiency in customer onboarding is also a plus. Beyond account opening, I also see MyInfo applicable to credit card and loan applications," Mr Gupta said.

He added that the risk to data is also low, since MyInfo will be managed by the Government and is accessible only through a SingPass log-in, which is itself a two-step authentication process.

The application of MyInfo in banking reflects the Government's strategy to make Singapore a smart financial centre. The MAS, which is organising the inaugural FinTech Festival this week, also plans to allow money transfer using only phone numbers next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2016, with the headline 'Log in with SingPass, open a bank account'. Print Edition | Subscribe