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MyInfo digital ID service signs on its first telco

NATIONAL digital identity service MyInfo - previously tested in the banking industry - has signed on its first telco partner in its private-sector expansion.

M1 has integrated MyInfo authentication with its one-year-old M1 Remit money transfer service, the company said on Thursday.

Such a move - available to anyone holding a SingPass authentication account with the government - does away with the need for M1 Remit users to verify their identity in person. Customers previously had to visit one of just two M1 branches - at IMM or Paragon malls - to physically register with the service.

Banks and financial institutions were given the green light in February to use biometric identification or other secure digital signatures - such as MyInfo - to electronically fulfil "know your customer" security requirements.

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M1 chief innovation officer Alex Tan said in a media statement: "We are delighted to be the first mobile remittance service provider to offer an end-to- end digital money remittance experience with the introduction of the MyInfo within our mobile app."

The M1 Remit network links customers here, who do not have to be M1 subscribers, with banks and cash agents in 10 countries: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

It is Singapore's first money remittance process to be backed by MyInfo, according to GovTech, which is behind the rollout of the digital authentication system.

Besides M1, rival telco Singtel also offers mobile-based money remittance services - the erstwhile "mWallet" - through its Dash payments platform.

MyInfo shares the personal information of Singapore's 3.3 million SingPass holders across various government electronic gateways, helping to automatically fill out forms and verify documents for services such as public housing.

In the private sector, a pilot was held last year with four retail banks. Users could pull their personal information from the MyInfo data vault to simplify bank account openings and credit card applications.

A GovTech portal launched in November 2017 gave other businesses the opportunity to experiment with incorporating MyInfo into their own services.

MyInfo now offers 100 public-sector and 56 private-sector services, the agency has said. The target is for 160 government services to offer MyInfo-backed electronic transactions by end-2018, while more than 100 businesses have expressed interest in joining.

Companies that have already integrated MyInfo into their operations include insurer Aviva and real estate portal SRX, for its mortgages.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, who is in charge of the Smart Nation initiative, told Parliament in March that the government plans to unleash a full national digital identity system from the second half of 2018, when the SingPass Mobile app for two-factor authentication comes out. The entire system will be operational in 2020.