Forum: Protect Singaporeans against pitfalls of digital banking

A lunch crowd in the central business district.
A lunch crowd in the central business district. PHOTO: ST FILE

When so much commercial interest is generated for Singapore's digital bank licences, it simply means there is vast potential for profit involved - with commensurate risk for the end consumer (Banking set for new era as 21 vie for digital-only licences, Jan 8).

Given that telcos, social media giants and big tech already spy on us, manipulating our opinions, prying into confidential correspondence and influencing buying habits, I expect financial technology to do the same once it takes hold.

Unlike with physical banks, fintech carries with it no personal interactions or local physical offices, interactions are made through a smart device without paper evidence of transactions, with electronic data security moot, privacy policies opaque and hidden costs revealed only after transactions are done.

As a major financial centre with traditional avenues of development already crimped, Singapore needs to cultivate the development of fintech as another pillar of sustained growth, but it is the Wild Wild West out there.

It's a new world with all its necessary evils for those of us not as well-schooled in e-ventures to navigate, and the authorities had better shield us with as comprehensive a protective umbrella as they can muster.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

Given that telcos, social media giants and big tech already spy on us, manipulating our opinions, prying into confidential correspondence and influencing buying habits, I expect financial technology to do the same once it takes hold.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2020, with the headline 'Protect Singaporeans against pitfalls of digital banking'. Print Edition | Subscribe