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DBS to pilot face-verification tech to lure more digital banking signups

DBS bank customers who have resisted signing up for a digital banking account due to the hassle may now have a reason to go over to the other side.

DBS bank customers who have resisted signing up for a digital banking account due to the hassle may now have a reason to go over to the other side.

Singapore's largest bank has partnered the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) to pilot the latter's SingPass face-verification technology to draw new digital banking users.

This pilot programme intends to reach out to the more than one million DBS customers who are SingPass holders and do not use digital banking services, of which over 60 per cent are seniors aged 62 and above. DBS now has 3.4 million digibank customers altogether.

Beyond the pilot programme, DBS customers will also have the option of using the SingPass face-verification technology to sign up for other products and services by the end of 2020.

Previously, DBS customers who signed up for digital banking services online were required to use their ATM, credit or debit card and PIN to complete the verification process before they could access digital banking services for the first time. Those who did not have their card and PIN would have to wait up to five working days to receive their items by post before activating their digital banking accounts.

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The technology taps on SingPass, which has rolled out its latest face-verification feature as a mode of identity verification. Businesses match the user's presented facial image against the government's biometric database, but do not collect nor retain any data submitted to ensure user data privacy and security.

DBS had conducted a beta trial of the SingPass face-verification technology with over 100 seniors, as well as students from ITE College West in July 2020.

This new development comes on the back of digitalisation trends that have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. During Covid-19, more seniors have been turning to digital banking to meet their banking needs – the number of seniors who used digital banking in April and May more than tripled compared to the same period last year.

By the end of 2019, DBS found that the number of customers who had been conducting their banking needs solely via mobile on the bank's mobile banking app DBS digibank almost doubled from 2017 to 2019. Close to one million DBS customers today are active on the bank's digital banking platforms, and have gone more than a year without visiting a bank branch or calling the bank's contact centre for assistance.

Jeremy Soo, head of consumer banking group (Singapore) at DBS Bank, said: "Amid one of the greatest disruptions ever witnessed in our time, we are more cognisant than ever about the importance of leveraging digital technology to quickly serve up solutions that benefit the wider public."

Earlier in July, OCBC announced that its customers can use their SingPass Mobile app to access digital banking services via the bank's mobile app or Internet banking. OCBC is said to be the first bank in Singapore to offer such a service.

Using SingPass Mobile as an alternate login benefits customers who currently use an access code and PIN instead of fingerprint or facial biometrics to log in to the bank's digital banking platforms, eliminating the need to remember multiple access codes and PINs, said OCBC.

According to OCBC, close to 100,000 people started using digital banking for the first time this year. The bank also recorded a 40 per cent increase in digital transactions by those aged 50 to 64; customers older than this clocked a 48 per cent rise in digital banking transactions from 2019.

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