Starting from next Monday (November 1), all government agencies will accept the Digital Identity Card (IC) on the Singpass app as an alternative form of identity verification for in-person services.
This marks a significant milestone for Smart Nation, in which people can tap on this proof of identification to transact digitally with public and private sector entities.
With the wider acceptance of Digital IC by the government, Singpass app users no longer need to bring their physical IC on most occasions.
They can conveniently prove their identity using the Digital IC when transacting at government counters, polyclinics and public libraries. Currently, the Digital IC is also accepted by service providers such as SingHealth Polyclinics.
Besides patient registration, the digital IC can also be used to book appointments at public clinics, register at government buildings for entry, borrow books from public libraries, collect passports, as well as book Housing Board flats and pick up the keys.
However, the Digital IC will not be accepted for instances where physical document is required under the legislation such as for marriage registrations and hotel check-ins.
“We are working on amending the legislation to formalise the use of Digital IC for these exceptions. The list of exceptions is available on the Singpass website,” said the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) in a media statement.
It added that it is looking to “onboard more private sector companies” to encourage the use of the Digital IC.
Businesses are also encouraged to accept the Digital IC as an alternative to the physical NRIC or long-term pass card for identity verification, though GovTech understands that private organisations have their separate operational considerations and may need time to accept a new verification method.
Is it safe to use Digital IC?
As the Digital IC serves as an official identification document, security measures are in place to protect the user’s identity.
To ensure security and safety, the Digital IC displays minimal information (e.g. partial NRIC number/FIN) that are masked by default to protect users’ privacy. Users are also required to verify their identity using their fingerprint, face or passcode should they wish to access full details on their Digital IC.
The Digital IC features the user’s latest photograph provided to the government and is accompanied by an animated and holographic lion crest to prevent image tampering and screenshot spoofing.
In addition, users’ NRIC numbers or FIN are masked by default to protect their privacy during transactions, and user authentication is required to view the full details on the Digital IC.
The Digital IC feature was introduced in the Singpass app in May 2020, and with the recent update of the app’s interface, users can now access it easily on the app’s homepage. There is also a customisable profile where users can find their important information.
In a previous interview with Vulcan Post, Tay Li Soon, senior product manager at GovTech, shared there are plans to roll out other identity documents on Singpass. Particularly, the driver’s license will see a digital version on the Singpass app as soon as this year.
While the driver’s license details are already available on the app, they want to mimic the physical card too, much like the NRIC. Besides that, some other feasible applications could be the vocational licenses.
It’s important to note that the Digital IC does not fully replace the physical IC. If you lose your card, you would still need to report the loss to Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and apply for a new card within 14 days.
Today, 97 per cent of Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) aged 15 and above own a Singpass account, making it one of the most pervasively adopted national digital identity systems in the world.
There are also over 3.2 million Singpass app users, and about 300 million personal and corporate Singpass transactions every year.
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Featured Image Credit: Singpass