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Four banks start pilot use of MyInfo platform

DBS, OCBC, UOB, Stanchart tie up with govt agencies to use auto-form filling system; it may extend beyond account opening to car and home loan applications

Government needs to better collect, use, and share the data that it has and in responsible ways, in order to improve how it serves citizens and businesses. - Peter Ong, Head of Civil Service


MYINFO, Singapore's digital personal data platform, which allows users to auto-fill details like their name, identity card number and registered residential address on government online forms, can now be used with four banks to auto-fill forms.

Announcing this on Wednesday at the Digital Government Exchange (DGX) 2017, Peter Ong, Head of Civil Service, said that since last year, the take-up for MyInfo has grown to approximately 145,000 users.

DBS, OCBC, UOB and Standard Chartered Bank have begun a pilot with the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) and Government Technology Agency (GovTech), in collaboration with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), on use of MyInfo.

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Mr Ong noted that customers will be able to open bank accounts without having to submit copies of identity cards and income statements. "Though the pilot is still ongoing, the government has plans for MyInfo to be extended beyond the opening of bank accounts by 2018, to other transactions, such as credit card applications and home loans," he said.

In tandem with the extension of MyInfo for private sector use, the government will also increase the platform's coverage of government digital services over seven-fold, from 19 digital services today, to more than 150 by next year. "We envision that MyInfo will be used in other sectors with strong citizen touch points, such as insurance," Mr Ong said.

He added that e-payments is another area where the government welcomed private sector involvement. "We cannot push for e-payments by ourselves, and will need to work with external parties - from banks to payment service providers to FinTech firms.

"An example is the Central Addressing Scheme or CAS, which will be launched at the end of next month.

"CAS is an industry project led by the Association of Banks in Singapore, and developed by a local payment infrastructure provider, called Banking Computing Services. Customers of seven major banks will be able to use CAS when it is launched. Besides those already involved in the MyInfo pilot, there are HSBC, Citibank, and Maybank as well."

Mr Ong added that CAS links an individual's mobile number, or NRIC (national registration identity card) number, to their bank account, so inter-bank fund transfers can be made as easy as sending a text. "Such convenience will make e-payments more appealing to citizens, especially those who struggle to remember lengthy bank account numbers. Over time, the government expects CAS to help increase the volume of digital transactions in Singapore."

He added that re-organising, becoming data-driven, and partnering with the private sector are some of the things the Singapore government is doing to hasten its Smart Nation and digital government ambition.

Noting that a digital government is one that is data-drive, Mr Ong observed that the government needs to "better collect, use, and share the data that we have and in responsible ways, in order to improve how we serve citizens and businesses".

He added that as more people interact with the government through websites and mobile applications, the government needs "to ensure that they provide a reliable user experience". Mr Ong noted that 90 per cent of Singapore government services are available online and Singapore consumers "are among the most connected in the world".

In this context, Mr Ong said the government, in order to know if digital services are performing well, will implement Whole-of-Government Application Analytics or WOGAA from next month, to enable real-time and automatic monitoring of all government websites and digital services. "With WOGAA, we aim to ensure good performance of digital services delivery, and identify gaps for improvement," he added.

The government is also working on a Smart Nation Sensor Platform or SNSP. "This nationwide sensor platform enables agencies to collect, analyse, and share data from sensors that are deployed island wide. The platform encompasses hardware like lampposts and public cameras, as well as software that enables sensor data exchange, and data and video analytics. As part of this endeavour, we aim to make all 110,000 lampposts in our entire country an interconnected network of wireless sensors," Mr Ong said.

He added that in order to improve data exchange within the public service, the government is implementing an API Exchange or Apex. "A network of data 'pipes and gates', Apex lets agencies share data through secure application programming interfaces or APIs, while centrally monitoring and managing the security of these exchanges," Mr Ong said.

"Apex is our answer to connecting disparate systems used by different agencies. It will help us to avoid some costs in the long run, as agencies do not have to build entire services from scratch. Not only will it be easier to reuse existing infrastructure, development time can be shortened too."

Noting that the best tools mean nothing if users cannot extract value from them, Mr Ong said the Singapore government is looking to grow its data science capabilities. GovTech has kickstarted a collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS) to train 2,000 public officers in data science every year - senior officials included. "The rationale for this is clear: we want to build a Public Service where everyone is conversant in data, from the fresh hires to senior leaders. In fact, we envisage that our daily work should be a digitally immersive and data-rich experience," Mr Ong said.