Singaporeans with more than one bank account will soon be able to view all their funds and investments in one place online, instead of having to visit each bank or its website.
They can consent to share their consolidated personal financial data across seven banks - Citibank, POSB and DBS, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC, Standard Chartered and UOB - and three agencies: the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board, Housing Board and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras).
The Straits Times understands that the Singapore Financial Data Exchange (SGFinDex), an online platform which takes reference from "open banking" in Europe, will be announced soon.
Open banking is the practice of providing third-party financial service providers with access to financial data from banks and non-bank financial institutions.
This is done using application programming interfaces (APIs), or codes that enable computer applications to speak to one another. Third parties will be able to integrate their services with those of a bank to create a better consumer experience.
Users of SGFinDex will be redirected to the SingPass log-in page, after which they can select the financial institutions they would like to be connected to.
Information from the CPF Board, Iras and HDB is automatically linked via MyInfo when users log in using SingPass.
Data that can be retrieved include current and savings account balances, unit trust holdings, CPF Investment Scheme and Supplementary Retirement Scheme accounts and holdings, and loan outstanding balances.
After successfully linking their accounts, users are asked for consent to their data one more time. The information is secured with SingPass MyInfo.
SGFinDex can already be accessed from some banks' platforms, such as DBS' NAV Planner.
The bank's website states that as a security measure, the platform does not store or have access to users' financial data. Also, users are not allowed to perform any transactions through the platform.
According to DBS, more than one million users have used it to do budgeting and monitor their investment performance, as well as obtain personalised financial insights and recommendations.
Associate Professor Lawrence Loh from the National University of Singapore Business School said the take-up rate for SGFinDex, especially at the outset, would depend on how consumers weigh the benefits against the time spent on enabling access.
"The incentive will be stronger if transactions can also be performed beyond the availability of information," he said.
Assistant Professor Aurobindo Ghosh from Singapore Management University's Lee Kong Chian School of Business cautioned that there may be some kinks at the outset because of legacy systems in different banks.
"The main hurdle is to have some uniformity or standardisation of financial services and protocols that are universally adopted, including access to data APIs across different institutions," he said.
Data security would also have to be held to a very high standard for these platforms to be more widely adopted and to carry innovative products such as debt consolidation, he added.
Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Saktiandi Supaat, who is on the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Trade and Industry, said SGFinDex allows for easier deliberations on financial planning.
He added: "For now, the services available seem limited. But in future, issues about data privacy and who has access to these data within the partner financial institutions may be an issue."