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SingPass Is The New Digital NRIC - You Can Now Open A Bank Account With Facial ID

With SingPass’ new facial recognition technology launched last Wednesday (29 July), Singapore residents can now open an online banking account by taking a selfie.

Instead of entering your ATM or credit/debit card number and a PIN, facial recognition can be used as a substitute for traditional verification procedures.

DBS is the first bank to pilot the facial recognition service, which is available on its digibank app.

After launching the app, users can simply select their identity type, enter their identity number and select SingPass Face Verification as their verification channel.

The next step is to take a selfie. The captured image will be matched against the latest records in the Government’s biometric database.

After receiving and verifying a one-time password (OTP) sent to your number via SMS, your online banking account will be created. Facial data will not be retained by the bank.

SingPass Face Verification’s official launch followed a successful trial in July, with over 100 seniors and students from ITE College West participating.

Participants reportedly commented that the facial recognition technology was easy to use.

Prior to the implementation of facial ID, applicants without a banking card, or those who forgot their PIN had to wait up to five working days to receive verification by post to activate their accounts.

Facial Recognition: The Next Frontier For Fintech

The national biometric database was made available for private-sector organisations to use without building their own facial verification systems.

The facial images and identities of over four million Singaporean residents aged 15 years and above are recorded in the database. This data was captured during applications for passports and NRICs.

DBS’ management revealed that clients who take care of their banking activity digitally doubled from 2017 to 2019. Over one million customers have not visited a physical location in over a year.

DBS is launching the pilot program to target over one million clients who are SingPass holders but may not be using digital banking. 60 per cent of the potential client base are senior citizens (over 62 years old).

The number of senior residents in Singapore actively using digital banking increased threefold in 2020 as opposed to 2019. This is partially the product of Covid-19, which accelerated digitisation and remote servicing.

Facial recognition technology is rapidly expanding among fintech providers as competitors race to streamline customer experience.

Industries are competing to capture undeserved markets, particularly those in older age groups, which operate largely offline.

Featured Image Credit: DBS

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