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New SingPass mobile app to simplify access to Singapore Government services

New SingPass mobile app to simplify access to Singapore Government services

Minister-In-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Dr Vivian Balakrishnan provided updates of Singapore’s Smart Nation Strategic National Projects in the Singapore Parliament yesterday.

The National Digital Identity (NDI) framework is one of the five strategic projects announced last year. With transactions being increasingly digitised in the public as well as the private sector, the Singapore Government is developing a NDI system, extending from the SingPass [1] platform. The system will provide users with a single digital identity to transact with both the Government and private sector in am more secure and seamless fashion.

The NDI System is planned to be operational in 2020, with progressive trials for digital signatures to facilitate paperless transactions. The Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) will work with the private sector to drive widespread adoption and develop more value-added services that build on the NDI, such as signing of digital agreements, for increased productivity and reduced business costs.

Several new initiatives under the NDI were revealed yesterday, including the planned launch of a SingPass Mobile app providing an enhanced two-factor authentication method and extending the use of the Government’s MyInfo profile to more government to citizen services.

SingPass Mobile app

As part of the NDI, the Government will be launching SingPass Mobile app. GovTech is conducting internal trials for the mobile app and will progressively roll it out for public use in the second half of 2018.

This will be an alternative 2FA (two-factor authentication) method to the existing 2FA modes to provide citizens with a simpler process of logging into government digital services.

The authentication will be done through a secure soft token stored on the phone, and a user-determined six-digit passcode or fingerprint, which will provide enhanced security compared to using SMS one-time passwords.

With SingPass Mobile, citizens will be able to use their phones to log in and transact securely on-the-go without carrying a physical token. Users would not need to key in their passwords every time they log in to a digital service. Users based overseas can also authenticate themselves for Government digital services using their mobile phones and without the physical token.

Extending the use of MyInfo to more Government services

MyInfo is a “Tell Us Once” service where users are not required to repeatedly provide and verify the same personal information to government agencies when transacting online. After the user has successfully authenticated his identity via SingPass, his/ her basic government verified personal details will be used to fill up online forms from participating agencies, each time they perform a transaction. Last year it was announced that by December 2017, all registered SingPass users will have a MyInfo Profile.

In May 2017, MyInfo was extended to the banking sector in a pilot with five participating banks. When transacting, consent is sought before personal details of bank customers are retrieved from MyInfo. To date, almost 30 digital banking services have been onboarded, including applications for credit cards and the opening of new bank accounts. According to a government factsheet, the use of MyInfo has resulted in an average decrease of up to 80 per cent in application time for users, with banks reporting up to 15 per cent higher approval rate due to the better data quality.

As of January 2018, MyInfo is linked to 70 government services (the list of available services is available in Annex A of this facsheet). By the end of this year, 160 government-to-citizen (G2C) digital services, which make up almost all G2C services, will be linked to MyInfo.

In November 2017, the MyInfo Developer & Partner Portal was launched allowing developers to prototype digital innovations through the use of an experimental API sandbox, and helping businesses integrate their services with the Government’s MyInfo service. Since its launch, over 2,000 developers and partners have visited the portal, with more than 100 businesses expressing interest in using MyInfo for their digital services.

Benefits for citizens and businesses

The NDI provides the convenience of a single digital identity, saving time and effort for citizens when they use their MyInfo profile that contains government-verified data for transactions with any digital service.

They will no longer have to remember different usernames and passwords for services or carry multiple security tokens to transact online. Citizens will be able to use their smartphones to transact conveniently and securely on-the-go with the Government, as well as the private sector, even when overseas.

The NDI as an open platform with published interoperability standards, will also be beneficial for businesses, helping them build value-added services. The Government will encourage the private sector to build services on top of the NDI platform. An example of a value-added service is digital signing, which will facilitate end-to-end digitalisation of business processes to unlock potential efficiency improvements.

In addition, stronger Security and Trust NDI can better protect high-value transactions and will also support the use of biometrics for added identity assurance of their customers.

[1] Singpass provides a gateway to hundreds of e-services provided by more than 60 government agencies.

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