UOB pilots use of Singpass digital signature to authorise transactions

Local bank UOB is piloting the use of national digital identity system Singpass' digital signature feature to confirm transactions or product applications.

This year-long trial will be extended to some retail and corporate clients, the bank announced yesterday.

This allows Singapore citizens and residents to digitally sign electronic documents, such as for individual wealth planning transactions and applications for services, using their Singpass app.

During the digital signing process, only a random encrypted code will be shared with the bank's document management platform to confirm that the customer has signed the document, thus ensuring the confidentiality of personal data, UOB said.

The Sign with Singpass capability was rolled out last November by the Government Technology Agency and first piloted by government agency Singapore Land Authority.

UOB said it aims to expand the use of this feature in more of its products and services for both retail and wholesale customers in Singapore after the pilot.

It also plans to expand its electronic signature capability to the region from next year, using other authentication systems such as two-factor authentication for countries that do not have a Singpass equivalent.

Electronic signatures will cut the use of more than two million multi-page hard copy documents each year, which will save over 700 trees per year, the bank said.

UOB is not the only bank which uses digital signing.

DBS introduced secured electronic signatures through DBS DigiSign for its institutional customers in August last year.

It also uses its digital banking services and Singpass for authentication and validation for almost all of the bank's products and services on the retail front, said Mr Jimmy Ng, DBS' group chief information officer and head of group technology and operations.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered said it has developed its own electronic signature solution, Standard Chartered eSign.

The feature replaces handwritten signatures to grant approval on electronic documents or forms across various product sign-ups and onboarding processes, including for investments, insurance and mortgage.

Last year, the bank also launched a digital token-based authentication for all retail servicing transactions to replace manual verification, such as a client's physical signature, where possible.

At OCBC Bank, retail and corporate banking customers have been able to use digital signatures for transactions such as large corporate account opening applications and investment product application forms since last year.

Mr Lim Khiang Tong, the bank's head of group operations and technology, said the lender successfully completed a proof-of-concept for a cross-border transaction with Sign with Singpass last year, adding: "This service will be fully implemented later this year."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2021, with the headline 'UOB pilots use of Singpass digital signature to authorise transactions'. Subscribe