DBS introduces a mobile-only bank in India

FinTech Innovation editors
FinTech Innovation

Singapore’s DBS Bank has launched what it says is India’s first mobile-only bank. Dubbed digibank, the mobile app functions as an entirely paperless, signatureless and branchless bank for India’s residents.

The initiative aims to break away from conventional banking norms such as form filling and other cumbersome processes.

Account-opening can be done easily and effortlessly at an extensive network of outlets run by DBS’ partners, including over 500 cafes across India. No paperwork will be involved and instead, customer authentication is done purely using the Aadhaar card, a biometrics-enabled ID which has been issued to over 1 billion Indians.

Other digibank features include 24/7 customer service provided by a real-time, AI-driven virtual assistant, which understands natural language and is incorporated with the ability to anticipate and answer some 10,000 customer questions.

This AI feature was made possible due to DBS’s partnership with US-based fintech Kasisto. The latter is a spin-off from SRI International which created the technology behind Apple’s Siri.

In-built into digibank is a budget optimizer that helps customers do their budgeting, track expenses and analyze purchasing trends. The function is equipped to understand customer behavior and preferences, synthesize data, and provide recommendations.

The budget optimizer also studies customers’ spending patterns and prompts them if they are overspending. Conversely, if a customer’s savings regularly exceed his or her expenditure, digibank will provide suggestions on how to make one’s money work harder.

Dynamic inbuilt security, which is safer than OTP, is employed in digibank. Most bank customers are used to receiving One-Time Passwords (OTPs) via SMS, and then typing codes into pages to authorize their mobile banking transactions. digibank has an embedded soft token security, avoiding the need to wait for SMSs to arrive and providing even stronger security for transaction authorization.

The new offering also gives account-holders earn 7% interest from the first rupee, one of the highest in the market with no minimum balance requirements. Customers receive a physical debit card which can be used across all Visa-enabled online and POS transactions, as well as overseas. Free cash withdrawals will be available at more than 200,000 ATMs nationwide.

Said DBS CEO Piyush Gupta, “India’s banking system is at the cusp of massive change, and as a bank committed to shaping the future of banking, we are excited to roll out a revolutionary, mobile-only bank. With digital, we are able to create a completely different customer experience. What’s more, digibank’s efficiencies and lower costs enable us to pass on significant benefits to customers in the form of greater customer value.”


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