SMEs can now use facial recognition to apply for DBS online banking accounts

DBS will offer SingPass Face Verification as an authentication option for all qualifying applications from Feb 23, 2021.
DBS will offer SingPass Face Verification as an authentication option for all qualifying applications from Feb 23, 2021.PHOTO: DBS

SINGAPORE - Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners now simply need to face a camera to authenticate and verify their information while setting up a corporate account online with DBS Bank.

DBS said the new facial biometrics feature runs on the Government Technology Agency of Singapore's (GovTech) SingPass Face Verification technology.

Previously, business owners who qualify for straight-through processing need to manually key in their DBS digibank credentials to confirm their application, the bank said on Tuesday (Feb 23).

"This has proven to be a hassle, with customers often forgetting their credentials. With SingPass Face Verification, DBS has done away with the need to remember passwords, and customers need only face the camera to authenticate their application," the bank said.

DBS first introduced SingPass Face Verification in a pilot for SME account opening last November, with more than 100 customers using the feature since then.

The bank will offer SingPass Face Verification as an authentication option for all qualifying applications from Tuesday. Customers will be able to access their corporate account online in about 20 minutes from the point of application, said DBS.

Customers who apply for a new corporate account online will need to fill out an application form. Most fields can be pre-filled if the customer gives approval to retrieve the data through the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) or MyInfo Business.

They will then be able to select SingPass Face Verification as an authentication option, before scanning their face on a computer with a web camera or a mobile device with a front-facing camera.

Ms Joyce Tee, group head of SME banking at DBS, said corporate accounts allow SMEs to access critical banking services such as working capital support, supply chain financing and property loans.

"That's why we have doubled down on our digital innovation efforts to make the customer onboarding journey as seamless and intuitive as possible. This in turn enables SMEs to remain focused on their business operations and stay ahead in today's business environment," she said.

SingPass Face Verification allows a captured facial image to be matched against the national biometric database.

This database contains the facial images and identities of four million local residents aged 15 years and above, captured through applications for passports and NRICs; its use has so far been limited to official purposes, including verification at border checkpoints and in some government buildings to limit access rights.

With SingPass Face Verification, private-sector organisations can tap the nation's digital identity infrastructure to securely verify online transactions without needing to build their own systems.

DBS in July became the first private-sector entity to pilot the service, which is integrated into its digibank app for retail customers.