DBS customers can now use face verification technology for digital banking services

It is expected to benefit close to 2 million customers

DBS customers can now use a face verification feature to conduct digital banking services. 

SingPass holders may now sign up for the pilot programme which will grant them “instant access” to their bank accounts and banking services, or register for digital banking. 

The advantage of this is the expedition of registration processes in a “intuitive and seamless manner”, said the bank and Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) in a news release on Wednesday (29 Jul).

DBS is the first bank to implement GovTech’s latest service.

The new feature will benefit more than 1 million DBS customers who are SingPass holders and do not use digital banking services. 

Out of this one million, more than 60 per cent are seniors aged 62 and above.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank saw a surge in seniors turning to digital banking. 

“The number of (this demographic) who used digital banking in April and May 2020 more than tripled compared to the same period last year.”

The service also aims to benefit those trying digital banking for the first time, said the head of Singapore’s consumer banking group at DBS, Mr Jeremy Soo.

“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.”

The feature is also being piloted owing to “significant consumer shifts towards digital services”, noting smartphone penetration is expected to reach 80 per cent of the population by 2022.

By the end of 2019, the bank said 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 end 2019.

“Furthermore, close to one million DBS customers today are independent digital banking users, which means that they 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,” the press releases stated. 

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

How it works

DBS and POSB customers who wish to use the face verification feature need to download the digibank mobile app and select the option. 

They will then have to take a selfie that will be matched against their latest NRIC/passport photo records from the Government’s biometric database.

After the match has been verified, the bank will send an SMS-OTP (one-time password) to the user’s registered mobile number for account verification. 

After it is verified, the user can then create their preferred digibank credentials. 

Privacy concerns that were expressed were dispelled in the press release as it stated that DBS and GovTech “do not collect nor retain any data submitted to ensure data privacy and security”.

Before this feature was available, digital banking users had to use their ATM, credit or debit card and banking PIN for registration to access digital banking services for the first time. 

Those without such cards or PINs would have to wait to receive their items by post.

Trial for new feature

More than 100 seniors and students from ITE College West participated in the beta trial for the SingPass face verification feature in early July. 

The press release stated the trial received a “positive response”. 

It added that the majority said they would recommend the face verification feature as it was “quicker and easier” than existing digital banking sign-up methods. 

OCBC implemented a SingPass login feature in early July

On 4 July, OCBC stated in a media release that it was the first bank to roll out a SingPass Mobile app as an option to access its digital banking services. 

12 days later, OCBC customers were able to use their SingPass to log in to their accounts through internet banking. 

The use of SingPass to log in to OCBC’s digital banking platforms eliminates the need for its 1.8 million digital customers to remember multiple access codes and PINs, the release stated. 

It further wrote that the feature will “especially benefit” customers who do not use fingerprint or facial biometrics. 

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