Citi Singapore taps m-wallets, voice biometrics

FinTech Innovation editors
FinTech Innovation

Five banks in Singapore may have been quick to announce their respective credit and debit cards’ compatibility with Apple Pay last month, but Citibank Singapore appears to be going against the tide.

The bank has yet to announce when its card offerings will be Apple Pay-supported, but instead appears to be focusing on mobile e-wallet payments via the Android platform in its bid to grow its credit card business.

Samsung Pay looks set to be the first mobile e-wallet service on Citibank Singapore’s agenda, with beta tests by customers with eligible mobile phones currently ongoing. Samsung’s proprietary digital wallet is set to go ‘live’ in Singapore later this year, in a launch that will mark the service’s debut in Southeast Asia.

According to Citibank Singapore’s head of merchant acquiring and emerging payments Peng Chun-Hsien, Samsung Pay’s versatility will enable transactions to be made at a much larger number of retail points of sale compared to Apple Pay.

While Apple Pay requires NFC-enabled contactless payment readers to function, Samsung Pay supports transactions at both NFC and regular chip or swipe payment terminals. The latter is made possible due to a proprietary technology from Samsung known as Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST), which emits a magnetic signal mimicking the magnetic strip on a traditional payment card.

This magnetic signal is sent to the payment terminal’s card reader and emulates the swiping of a physical card.

Following the launch of Samsung Pay, Citibank Singapore will also unveil a proprietary digital wallet named Citi Pay for NFC-enabled Android smartphone users in Singapore later this year.

Authentication by voice

Identify authentication through voice forms a key aspect of the bank’s bid to improve the user experience on its phone banking service. Recently rolled out, voice biometrics authentication aims to ease the customer identity verification process.

Voiceprints are purportedly as unique as fingerprints to each individual.



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