National data exchange platform lets Singaporeans consolidate financial data

Introduced by the Singapore government, the data platform enables consumers to pull together their financial data across various sources including banks and government agencies, so they can better understand their overall financial health.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

A new data platform has been introduced in Singapore to enable residents to pull together and view their financial information from across various sources, including banks and government agencies. The aim here is to help these individuals better understand and plan their overall financial posture. 

The Singapore Financial Data Exchange (SGFinDex) was developed by the Singapore government, in collaboration with the Association of Banks in Singapore and seven participating banks, including DBS Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, HSBC Bank, Maybank Singapore, and Standard Chartered bank Singapore. 

The initiative was led by several government agencies including the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Government Technology Agency (GovTech). 

The data platform was built on Singapore's National Digital Identity (SingPass), which citizens use to access e-government services. They now can log into their SingPass account to access their financial details that are held by different government agencies and financial institutions, such as loans for their public housing apartment, Central Provident Fund balances, deposits, and credit cards.

A participating financial planning application or website enables citizens to view the account balance in their bank account on the data exchange platform, but they would not be able to use it to perform transactions in their bank account.

The next phase of SGFinDex would allow citizens to access details on their insurance policies held with insurers as well as their holdings of stocks at the Central Depository. 

The Ministry of Manpower and GovTech had developed a digital financial planning service, called MyMoneySense, that tapped SGFinDex to provide Singaporeans with an overview of their finances. "It will offer trusted, personalised, and actionable guidance for more effective and comprehensive financial planning," the government agencies said in a joint statement.

Participating banks also tapped the SGFinDex platform to offer financial planning services to their customers, encompassing money management, investments, identifying protection needs, and retirement planning.

According to the government, the data exchange platform was developed with data protection and privacy in mind, and would only transmit data and would not store any personal financial information. All data transmitted on SGFinDex is encrypted and can be decrypted and read only on the financial planning applications or websites authorised to access and gather the data. 

Financial data would be retrieved after the individual had given explicit consent and their identity must be verified through SingPass. This consent was necessary for banks and government agencies to release the data via SGFinDex as well as for participating financial planning applications or websites to retrieve data via the data exchange. 

Given consent would last for a year from the time it was provided and banks would have to be authorised again if the individuals wished to release their data after the end of the one-year period.

MAS' managing director Ravi Menon said: "Today, our personal financial information is fragmented across multiple entities and we often take financial decisions, like making an investment or buying a house, without a holistic view of our financial situation. 

"SGFinDex empowers the individual to consolidate his financial information for a comprehensive view of his portfolio, and use digital tools like MyMoneySense to make better financial decisions," Menon said. "SGFinDex is a tangible expression of harnessing digital technology to enhance the financial well-being of Singaporeans."

Singapore last month updated its Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) to allow local businesses to use consumer data without prior consent for some purposes, such as business improvement and research. The amendments also allowed for harsher financial penalties to be meted out for data breaches, above the previous cap of SG$1 million. 


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