Opening a bank account is painful. You’d need to fill out long forms and submit documents.
The Singapore government has begun a pilot with the four main banks in the country to test a solution. Starting today, people who apply for new bank accounts at UOB, DBS, OCBC, and Stanchart can have their forms pre-filled. There’s no need to submit supporting documents too.
“There is no need for bank staff to manually verify the customer’s details since they have already been verified by the government. Not only will this save time, data entry errors will be reduced too,” says Peter Ong, head of the Civil Service, who announced the pilot today.
To enable this, customers need to sign up for MyInfo, a government digital service that aims to make seamless all kinds of registration processes, whether it’s government or commercial.
It works like this: you create a profile on the MyInfo website, which acts as a central depository of your private information. Once you sign up, it retrieves data about you at a click of a button. It both pulls and pushes your data.
So, besides pushing data to entities like banks (with your permission of course), it also automatically updates your information whenever you, for example, change your residential address at a police post or go from “single” to “married” at the Registry of Marriages.
MyInfo was rolled out in May 2016 and is available for 12 government services, like applying for the Baby Bonus scheme and the Housing Development Board’s Built-To-Order flats. It counts about 145,000 active users, or people who’ve signed up and used the service at least once in the past year.
The government aims to make MyInfo available to all government services with two-factor authentication by 2018. More commercial applications for MyInfo may be launched. It could be used when applying for credit cards and home loans, for example. The insurance industry could also use it.
MyInfo is an initiative by the Smart Nation and digital Government Office, as well as the Government Technology Agency. The pilot with banks is organized together with the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
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