Face verification technology to allow SingPass holders to sign up for DBS digital banking services using a selfie

DBS and GovTech to pilot SingPass Face Verification technology for digital banking sign-ups via a process akin to taking a selfie.

SINGAPORE: SingPass holders will be able to sign up for DBS’ digital banking services by taking a picture of themselves through the use of face verification technology, following a rise in digital banking amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pilot programme aims to benefit more than 1 million DBS customers who are SingPass holders and do not use digital banking services, the bank and Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) said in a news release on Wednesday (Jul 29).

Within this group, more than 60 per cent are seniors aged 62 and above. According to the press release, more seniors have been turning to digital banking during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The number of seniors 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 consumer banking group (Singapore) at DBS Bank, 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,” he said.

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


It is a process “akin to taking a selfie” and will allow Singaporeans and permanent residents to sign up for DBS’ digital banking services from their homes, including registering for digital banking.

It will allow them “instant access” to their bank accounts and banking services and “expedite” the registration process, the press release said.

Using face verification, businesses can match the user’s presented facial image against the Government’s biometric database. However, they “do not collect nor retain any data submitted … to ensure the user’s data privacy and security”, according to the press release.

DBS/POSB customers who are keen to make use of the SingPass face verification feature need to download the digibank mobile app to 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.

Upon successful matching, DBS will send an SMS-OTP to the user’s registered mobile number for verification and the user can then create their preferred digibank credentials, DBS and GovTech said, adding people should not disclose their personal details to others.

Before this service was rolled out, customers who signed up for digital banking services online had to use their ATM, credit or debit card and PIN to complete the verification process before they could access digital banking services for the first time. Those without their cards and PINs would have to wait to receive their items by post.


Earlier in July, the SingPass face verification feature underwent a beta trial and received “positive response” among the participants comprising more than 100 seniors and students from ITE College West.

The majority of participants said they would recommend the face verification option as it was “quicker and easier” than existing digital banking sign-up methods, the press release noted.

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

“By the end of 2019, the bank noted 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 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.”

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, the press release noted.

Z24 News

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