OCBC has launched a fully digital account opening service for consumers in its key markets who are relocating to Singapore. The service will apply to individuals from Malaysia, Indonesia, mainland China and Hong Kong. They will be able to open Singapore dollar and multi-currency accounts on the OCBC Digital app remotely, within minutes. According to OCBC, this expedites the entire relocation process. This is a result of a local bank account facilitating two other key administrative arrangements: salary crediting and securing accommodation.

OCBC is the first major Singapore lender to offer the facility. Digital challenger Trust, backed by a partnership between Standard Chartered and local retailer FairPrice Group, has offered digital opening of savings accounts for foreigners since its launch last September. Its success in growing customer numbers to over 450,000 in the first five months post-launch, some 9% of the local Singapore market, contributed to Trust Bank being recognised in the 2023 FICO Decisions Awards.

Reducing account opening from days to minutes

Currently, it typically takes days or even weeks to open a bank account with an incumbent Singapore bank.  Consumers require to travel to Singapore and then visit a bank branch to produce physical documentation for verification. To fully digitalise onboarding, OCBC has leveraged artificial intelligence, data analytics, biometrics, blockchain and cloud technologies from OneConnect Financial Technology. OneConnect is an associate company of Ping An Group. These technologies have been integrated with OCBC’s proprietary digital know-your-customer process (e-KYC).

OCBC says the launch is timely as more foreigners are coming to Singapore to work, study and live. According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, from 2021 to 2022, this segment grew by 6.6%. As borders reopen post-pandemic and given Singapore’s strong infrastructure and status as a financial hub, this growth is likely to continue. OCBC expects the monthly average of foreigners opening an OCBC Singapore account in 2024 to be four-times that of 2022.

Demand on the rise for wealth management services

Opening a Singapore bank account will avail all the features of the OCBC Digital app to foreign customers, including its wealth management services. They will gain access to time deposits, international remittances, unit trusts, single premium endowments, equities trading, foreign exchange trading, robo-investment services, blue-chip stocks and precious metals like gold and silver.

OCBC reports strong growth in demand for digital wealth management services. It reports that OCBC’s foreign customers in Singapore who have started investing through the OCBC Digital app have increased four-fold since 2020. The total amounts invested have increased close to seven times over the same period.

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Sunny Quek, OCBC’s Head of Global Consumer Financial Services, said: “As more individuals relocate to Singapore to live, work and study, there has been a corresponding increase in demand for banking services. Our digital onboarding capability on the OCBC Digital app brings greater convenience to such consumers. It enables them to set up their Singapore bank accounts remotely, without having to physically visit a bank branch in Singapore. By providing them with a seamless and secure way to open an OCBC account, we hope that they will be able to get settled and integrate into Singapore life more quickly.”