OCBC Bank has enabled a facial recognition system on selected ATMs in Singapore. The bank becomes the first in Southeast Asia to do so, and it brings the bank closer to removing the need for a physical ATM card.
The use of the service is for checking account balances only. It will later expand to other ATM transactions such as cash deposits, cashcard top-ups, credit card bill payments, and funds transfer to other banks, starting next year.
Currently, the service is available only at eight ATMs, including the CBD, main branches in Tampines, and a convenience store. It will gradually extend to all 550 ATMs in Singapore.
The service is operated by the government’s SingPass Face Verification system. The system verifies a person’s scanned face to a national biometric database that contains photos and identification of over 4 million Singaporeans.
Customers can pick the ATM facility they want to use before encoding their NRIC number to use facial recognition. Then, a Web-enabled camera will scan their face and verify it to the national biometric database, which is linked to the bank’s ATM network.
The system uses security features to fight against fraud. It has a liveness detection feature that identifies and restricts the use of images, videos, or masks while on the authentication process.
According to OCBC, given the increase of digital banking services, ATM use among its customers stayed high, with over 2 million cash withdrawals each month. Besides, over 200,000 customers used digital banking for the first time last year.
Sunny Quek, OCBC Bank Singapore Head of Consumer Financial Services, said, “Singapore consumers are keen digital adopters – even the elderly. While cash is still a key mode of payment in Singapore, the digital overlay to get cash is very welcomed by consumers.”
OCBC’s digital services increased by over 40% last year, with more people signing up for PayNow, the country’s digital e-payment service. PayNow transactions even grown twice as much before.
“QR code cash withdrawals at ATMs grew 88% year-on-year in 2020. With many customers already embracing QR cash withdrawals without having to use an ATM card, face verification will add a layer of convenience to more customers as they access our banking touchpoints,” Quek added.
Additionally, OCBC’s mobile banking app receives over 7 million logins using face or fingerprint biometric authentication per month. The bank has over 1 million logins to its digital banking services processed using the SingPass method.