Singapore builds e-KYC platform using national identity system

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Via Flickr.

Singapore is moving forward with plans to build a national online know your customer platform for financial institutions based on a government identity database.

The program will allow Singaporeans to open bank accounts using information drawn from MyInfo, a government system through which citizens can store their personal identification in a centralized online depository for use across public sector organizations. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) hopes that giving banks access to validated MyInfo data, like national ID number and birth date, will streamline access to financial services and allow institutions to verify customers’ identities more efficiently.

“[KYC] is one of the biggest pain points in the financial industry. The process is costly and laborious, and hugely duplicative,” said Ravi Menon, MAS Managing Director, in a November speech. “MyInfo enables residents to provide their personal data just once to the government, and retrieve their personal details for all subsequent online transactions with the government.”

A pilot run of the MyInfo-enabled system will launch in the second quarter this year with four participating financial institutions – OCBC Bank, UOB Bank, DBS Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank.

Until now, MyInfo data could only be used in applications for some 18 public services, though the Ministry of Finance has announced plans to expand MyInfo to 150 government programs by the end of next year. This is the first time that its data will be applied in the financial services sector.

If all goes well in this limited trial, MAS is hoping to implement the platform more broadly in the near future.

Interested in learning more? Join us at the K(NO)W Identity Conference May 15-17 in Washington D.C. for a panel on “Dirty Money in a Digital World: Modernizing Approaches to KYC, AML, and Terrorist Financing.”