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7 Ways Private Sector Businesses Use Singpass for Digital Identity

Whether for taxation or resource distribution, governments have always needed methods for identifying individuals and businesses. Today, digital identity tools have largely supplanted old manual identification systems throughout much of the world, facilitating more efficient interactions with state agencies. Of these digital solutions, Singapore’s Singpass is one of the most remarkable because of its wide use in the private sector.

In contrast to some digital identity systems that only cover certain classes of citizens, Singpass is issued to all Singaporeans. This fact alone gives Singpass more potential for private-sector use than other ID systems. However, the Singaporean government has taken a step further and has provided private businesses access to Singpass APIs.

Through APIs, businesses can integrate Singpass’s user verification capabilities into their business systems without having to revamp their existing infrastructure. Today, businesses use Singpass for a variety of purposes:

1. Faster User Onboarding on Mobile Apps for Digital Identity

programs for your digital identity

User onboarding is a make-or-break process for any app, particularly mobile apps where speed and convenience are expected. The harder it is to create an account, the more difficult it will be for an app to succeed. However, if you make app creation too easy, you increase the risk of fraudulent activities on the platform.

Using the Singpass API allows app developers to solve all these issues in one swoop. Through Singpass authentication, businesses can verify real users’ identities immediately, resulting in faster account creation and more secure platforms.

2. Single Sign-On Solution for Online Services

Singpass can also be used to instantly authenticate users accessing various platforms. Once an account has been authenticated through Singpass, users can access multiple online services seamlessly without having to re-enter their credentials each time. This enables convenient and reasonably secure logins while also preventing issues with lost passwords.

3. Enhanced Security Measures for Digital Identity

Thanks to the Singpass APIs, private businesses have easy access to digital identity authentication that’s developed to globally recognized best practices. In particular, Singpass offers two-factor authentication (2FA) to prevent fraudulent activities on the platforms it’s integrated into.

With 2FA, users are required to offer another form of authentication outside of their username and password. This prevents brute force attacks that have been effective on platforms that are only password-protected.

For the second authentication step, Singpass users can use a One-Time Password (OTP) sent via SMS to a Singapore-registered mobile phone. Alternatively, users can use Face Verification (FV) or PIN mailer as their second authentication factor. This security and convenience make Singpass a great solution for private apps that need to balance data privacy and customer convenience.

4. Digital Signatures

Singpass offers a Sign with Singpass feature that businesses can use to facilitate the digital signing of contracts, eliminating the need for physical signatures. The system does this by using blockchain technology to generate a unique digital signature on the document that is cryptographically linked to the signer. Signers also have a public key that can be used to verify the authenticity of the signature.

5. Biometrics-as-a-Service

digital identity

Some private businesses leverage the Singpass Identiface Face Verification feature to verify users’ identities through facial recognition. What’s even more impressive is that the technology can detect impersonation attempts involving the use of high-resolution photos and masks.

The feature is especially useful for services that require a step up in security, also offering users less friction compared to OTPs and other authentication methods. When this feature is enabled, all app users need to do to authenticate is to take a selfie which is compared against the database of Singpass users.

The use of Identiface has been especially helpful for faster Know Your Customer (KYC) checks. Through Singpass, financial institutions and other organizations with stringent security and legal compliance can more easily process higher volumes of sensitive requests.

6. Data Sharing and Collaboration

Singpass’s data verification capabilities are now being used in the Singapore Financial Data Exchange (SGFinDex), the world’s first public access digital infrastructure to use a national digital identity system. SGFinDex uses Singpass APIs to facilitate secure data sharing between private and government organizations, providing the data needed for better financial planning. As the SGFinDex use case is validated, Singpass may eventually be used for other data-sharing applications.

7. Contact Tracing Solutions

During the COVID-19 pandemic, private businesses utilized Singpass-enabled contact tracing solutions to record and manage visitor data for compliance with health and safety regulations. Singpass has also been used for similar user tracing applications such as acquiring customers at outdoor fairs and proving customer identities at physical stores. 

Singpass: Providing Two Decades of Digital Identity Success

Few state digital identity solutions have managed to provide value to their users in the way Singpass has. Though Singpass is now over two decades old, it continues to expand in its relevance thanks to the ready availability of its APIs. Private enterprises keep finding innovative ways to leverage the system’s mature data verification capabilities, and we probably have not seen the true extent of what Singpass can help achieve.

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