Sin­ga­pore banks raise their dig­i­tal game

Singapore Business Review - - CONTENTS -

When the Mone­tary Author­ity of Sin­ga­pore es­ti­mated that fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions could see a 5% fall in in­come if they are slow to adopt new tech­nolo­gies, it served as yet an­other de­ter­rent for banks to re­main a dig­i­tal lag­gard. Sin­ga­pore banks are lis­ten­ing to the dire warn­ings, with ex­ec­u­tives re­veal­ing their dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives this year to stay rel­e­vant to their cus­tomers.

For DBS, stay­ing one step ahead of fin­tech chal­lengers meant es­tab­lish­ing the world’s largest bank­ing ap­pli­ca­tion pro­gramme ser­vice (API) de­vel­oper plat­form de­liv­ered by a bank in 2017. The bank said the API plat­form, which in­cludes more than 150 APIS, will boost its abil­ity to in­no­vate dig­i­tal so­lu­tions for clients, from fund trans­fers and re­wards to real-time pay­ments.“banks will con­tinue to in­no­vate and get closer to the cus­tomers through their mo­bile de­vices as well as dig­i­talise bank­ing ser­vices wher­ever pos­si­ble,” said Patrick Yap, CIO, May­bank Sin­ga­pore, not­ing that one of May­bank’s lat­est in­no­va­tions is launch­ing the in­dus­try-wide mo­bile peer-to-peer fund trans­fer ser­vice Paynow. Mean­while, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Banks in Sin­ga­pore is ex­pected to ex­tend Paynow to cor­po­rates and busi­nesses in 2018, al­low­ing cus­tomers to link their bank ac­counts to one mo­bile num­ber and one NRIC num­ber and trans­fer funds to any­one. “Peer-to-peer funds trans­fer is now con­ducted in real time with Paynow and this has lev­elled the play­ing field be­tween the banks in Sin­ga­pore, re­gard­less of size or branch dis­tri­bu­tion out­reach,” said May­bank’s Yap.

QR code and so­cial me­dia

The QR code and so­cial me­dia pay­ments will also be in the spot­light in the com­ing year, in­creas­ing their trac­tion in the dig­i­tal space. Ac­cord­ing to Den­nis Khoo, re­gional head, dig­i­tal bank­ing, UOB, the QR code will take off in 2018 due to Sin­ga­pore’s high dig­i­tal pen­e­tra­tion rates. He added that so­cial me­dia pay­ments will see more in­no­va­tion with the likes of Paykey where cus­tomers can ba­si­cally pay from any so­cial me­dia site or any site at all us­ing a key­board.

Tek Yew Chia, head, fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sory ser­vices prac­tice, KPMG Sin­ga­pore, said that chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cers, or CIOS, need to be in an “act fast mode” and cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment to test new ser­vices and dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy out­side of the core bank­ing sys­tem. Ac­cord­ing to Chia, this pro­vides the free­dom to it­er­ate quickly and prove the ef­fec­tive­ness of a new ser­vice or sys­tem, be­fore bring­ing that ser­vice into the main bank­ing busi­ness.

The QR code and so­cial me­dia pay­ments will also be in the spot­light in the com­ing year, in­creas­ing their trac­tion in the dig­i­tal space.

Paynow has lev­elled the play­ing field be­tween banks in Sin­ga­pore

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