26 April 2016

DBS launches India’s first mobile-only bank

Source: DBS. From left: Sachin Tendulkar, Cricketer, digor  the digibank mascot, DBS CEO Piyush Gupta.
Source: DBS. From left: Sachin Tendulkar, Cricketer, digor 

the digibank mascot, DBS CEO Piyush Gupta.
  • Breaks new ground with artificial intelligence-driven Virtual Assistant
  • Account-opening leverages Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric ID programme

DBS Bank, Singapore’s largest bank and a leading bank in Asia, has unveiled digibank, India’s first mobile-only bank. The new type of bank uses technologies like biometrics and artificial intelligence (AI) to enable customers to enjoy a new way of banking.

According to DBS, digibank is completely paperless, signatureless and branchless. Account-opening is done via a network of outlets run by DBS’ partners, including over 500 cafes across India. There is no paperwork involved. Instead, customer authentication is done with the Aadhaar card, a biometrics-enabled ID which has been issued to over 1 billion Indians in what is the world’s largest biometric identification programme.

Other revolutionary features include:

• Customer service provided by a 24x7 AI-driven Virtual Assistant. Digibank customers can converse with digibank’s AI-powered virtual assistant to get their queries answered or banking transactions performed, such as: “What is my account balance?”, “show me past transactions”, “pay Amit 100 rupees”.

Because the virtual assistant understands natural language and has learning ability, it is able to respond in real-time. It can already anticipate and answer some 10,000 customer questions, with new knowledge added every day. In Asia, DBS is the only bank harnessing experimental conversational technology from US-based Kasisto, a spin-off from SRI International which created the technology behind Siri.

• An intelligent, intuitive budget optimiser that helps customers budget, track expenses and analyse purchasing trends. The function is smart enough to understand customer behaviour and preferences, synthesise data, and provide recommendations.

For example, it can make sense of customers’ spending habits to reward them with relevant, contextual marketing offers such as restaurant discounts for a foodie or coffee vouchers for a caffeine-lover. It also studies customers’ spending patterns and prompts them if they are overspending. Conversely, if a customer’s savings regularly exceeds his or her expenditure, digibank will provide suggestions on how to make one’s money work harder.

• Security is enhanced through dynamic inbuilt security, which DBS says is safer than a one-time password (OTP). Instead of receiving OTPs via SMS, and then typing codes into pages to authorise mobile banking transactions. digibank has an embedded soft token for security, avoiding the need to wait for SMSs to arrive and providing even stronger security for transaction authorisation.

As digibank has a more efficient cost structure compared to brick-and-mortar banking, it can offer better client value:

• Account-holders earn 7% interest from the first rupee, one of the highest in the market
• Customers enjoy unlimited free cash withdrawals at over 200,000 ATMs nationwide
• There are no minimum balance requirements
• A physical debit card, which comes with the account, can be used across all Visa-enabled online and point-of-sale transactions, as well as overseas

Said DBS CEO Piyush Gupta, “India’s banking system is at the cusp of massive change, and as a bank committed to shaping the future of banking, we are excited to roll out a revolutionary, mobile-only bank. With digital, we are able to create a completely different customer experience. What’s more, digibank’s efficiencies and lower costs enable us to pass on significant benefits to customers in the form of greater customer value.”

Said Surojit Shome, DBS India CEO, “Among the Singapore banks, DBS has the largest presence in India. This reflects our long-standing commitment and confidence in the market. Over the years, the bank has grown its corporate banking and SME franchise meaningfully. Going forward, we would like to extend our reach in the consumer segment as well. With a billion Aadhaar cards and over 200 million smartphone users in India, the opportunity for growth with digibank is huge.”

Said Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys and former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, “I have been a great believer that we are now at the ‘WhatsApp moment of banking’, where paperless, presenceless and cashless transactions are going to completely transform the banking industry. I believe digibank using Aadhaar is a great example of what’s to come.”

Said cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, “With multiple commitments, time is at a premium and every minute matters. The simplicity and ease of digibank encourages customers to live more and bank less. DBS is known for values of being trusted and safe which make them a banking partner of choice.”

Source: DBS. Take a quick peek at your balance with the digibank mobile app.
Source: DBS. Take a quick peek at your balance with the digibank mobile app.

The news follows the launch of the DBS digibank mobile app in Singapore in late March. The mobile app allows customers to view account balances with a swipe on their mobile devices or Apple Watch. The Peek Balance function does not require any prelogins and any of the user's DBS/POSB deposit or credit card accounts can be specified. The function was created as account balance enquiries are the the most common request across DBS customers across all of the bank’s channels, including ATMs, online services and its call centre.

In addition to the mobile app’s enhanced layout and more intuitive navigation, DBS digibank also offers customers:

• Personalised profile and customised quicklinks
• Payments made easier with a list of recent and favourite payees for faster transactions
• Account opening of an additional banking account with just a few simple steps
• Touch ID – log on to their account securely with fingerprints

Said Pearlyn Phau, Deputy Group Head of Consumer Banking & Wealth Management, DBS Bank, “With increasingly tech-savvy customers and rising smartphone usage, we have designed our digital banking services to be innovative and nimble enough to address customer needs, and be able to provide an intuitive and relevant banking experience. It is about leveraging world-class technology to create a first-class customer experience.”

Said Jeremy Soo, Managing Director and Head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore), DBS Bank, “As a bank serving close to five million customers in Singapore, we are upping the ante on not just the breadth of our digital offerings, but also on providing a holistic customer experience across our platforms. We do this by placing ourselves in our customers’ shoes, focusing on their needs and ensuring we know what the real ‘customer job to be done’ is. With DBS digibank, we seek to seamlessly integrate banking into our customers’ everyday lives so that banking becomes simpler and fuss-free for them.”

Since its soft launch on 14 March, DBS digibank has seen more than 200,000 downloads. DBS currently has the largest number of online banking and mobile banking customers in Singapore with over 2.5 million and 1.25 million users respectively, who account for over 1.2 million transactions daily across its digital platforms. The bank’s customer mobile activity continues to lead the industry in Singapore and mobile banking accounts for over 60% of the bank’s more than 500,000 daily logins.

In December 2015, DBS also piloted digital account opening for new customers. With just a few simple clicks, new-to-bank customers can open savings accounts at their convenience, without having to visit a physical branch.


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