GXS Bank launches new savings account for select customers

THE Grab-Singtel digital bank, GXS Bank, has launched a savings account - its first product for employees of Grab and Singtel and selected customers in their ecosystem.

GXS is the first retail digital bank to launch, pipping Sea's digital bank, MariBank, to the line. It has also been awarded the Data Protection Trustmark by the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore.

The GXS Savings Account offers a 0.08 per cent interest per annum accrued daily. GXS customers can create up to 8 Pockets from their savings account, which are designed to help customers save for specific goals. Each Pocket earns 1.58 per cent interest per annum accrued daily.

The Pockets can be customised with names and photos of the saving goal. GXS says it has smart nudges to encourage customers to top up their pockets and cheer the progress they make. Before the launch, the GXS Savings Account was rolled out to GXS employees; half of them set up pockets, with 80 per cent of deposit balances in pockets.

For GXS, the pockets are akin to term or fixed-deposit accounts, which offer higher interest rates for locking up the funds. Charles Wong, Singapore chief executive officer of GXS, said pockets are about getting customers to start building a saving habit. They also pave the way for these customers to progress to other products requiring a time commitment.

"When you give people the confidence to start saving and put money aside, it's powerful for the initial phase to know that, as and when you want to take out the money, you can. You don't have to jump through hoops to do that," said Wong.

Digital banks that have rolled out in Hong Kong and Indonesia have utilised promotional rates to attract customers to sign up and deposit their monies. For Wong, having a captive pool of customers from Grab and Singtel enables scaling down of such costs to attract customers.

"Within the ecosystem, the frequency of contact is high as well, and the opportunities and chances for us to reach customers is huge. We will give competitive rates, not exorbitant rates," said Wong.

Currently, the total deposit cap across the savings account and pockets is S$5,000. The GXS app will be launched on iOS App Store and Google Play Store on Sep 5.

Trust Bank, a digital bank by Standard Chartered and NTUC Income, already has its app available; however, users are unable to register for an account for now, until the bank launches it.

GXS aims to reach the underserved segments of the population - gig workers, entrepreneurs and fresh workers, for example. The GXS savings accounts has no minimum balance requirement.

"It is true that Singapore has a lot of banks, but being well-banked doesn't mean being well-served," said Wong.

Across the Grab and Singtel ecosystem, GXS says it has a potential market of around 3 million customers in Singapore. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has restricted digital banks to onboarding customers from within the consortium or from among the company's own customers for the initial launch.

The bank claims it can utilise data analytics to generate insights to develop, refine and iterate new features and products. Similarly, customer usage can be analysed so that personalised support can be offered when their banking needs are understood.

Customers will have to also give consent for data to be shared with GXS, even if they are Grab or Singtel customers.

GXS has no physical branch, so its customer helplines are manned 24/7, said Wong. Digitalisation for banks has resulted in more self-help, and customer helplines are manned only during office hours, noted Wong.

"When (digital natives) want help, they want to speak to someone, that's why our phone lines are 24/7, which is critical," said Wong.

"Over the coming months, we will also tackle other obstacles that hinder consumers and small businesses from reaching their goals sooner, such as growing their wealth or accessing credit," he said.

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