All you need to know about Singapore’s National Digital Identity project

The world has arrived at an unprecedented technological turning point and the way we live and work will evolve. Singapore is a small country, but it is always looking ahead, with the objective of building a nation that will make life better for its people.

Renowned as a solid business and financial hub in Southeast Asia, it is imperative for Singapore to be competitive and create a conducive environment for trade and commerce. Going forward, these goals will be made possible by technology.

Becoming A Smart Nation

As Singapore heads into the next century and matures as a nation, an innovative plan is devised to help it navigate its way towards the future. The aim of this strategic blueprint is to transform Singapore into a Smart Nation. At the heart of this monumental transformation is digitalisation. With initiatives driven by digitalisation, the government will harness the new opportunities and benefits that technology brings and give its citizens the best way to live and work in the 21st century and beyond.

For a country with limited natural resources, Singapore’s economy is instrumental in helping the country grow, progress and prosper. Instead of undermining the power of digitalisation, embracing it will help Singapore in its next phase of nation-building. Being a Smart Nation will not only allow Singapore to remain relevant and competitive on the global stage but also prime it for establishing comparative advantages that will strengthen the country and help it overcome obstacles in the future.

From individuals to businesses, industries and government agencies, the country is standing at a threshold as the plan for digitalisation is implemented step by step. The push for digitalisation will infiltrate major domains involving health, transport, finance, education and urban solutions. Ultimately, Singapore will be supported by three key pillars: Digital Economy, Digital Government and Digital Society, all powered by technology.

The National Digital Identity Project

To help with the seamless adoption of technology throughout the country, the government has set up a range of Strategic National Projects. One such project is the National Digital Identity. This is a convenient and secure system for all citizens, Singapore residents and businesses to transact digitally with the government and selected services in the private sector.

In the past, whenever you had to conduct a transaction with any government services, a lengthy form-filling process was required. Sometimes the process was further encumbered by the need for verification of identity, and you were required to gather various documents before you could submit your form.

Currently, in operation, the National Digital Identity system uses a “Tell Us Once” tool known as MyInfo, so that you only have to fill in your personal details once and the data will be stored securely online, retrievable each time you need it. The data found on MyInfo includes basic information such as your name, NRIC or Foreign Identification Number, race, date of birth, marital status and occupation.

Using SingPass To Access MyInfo

To access your MyInfo Profile, you will need to use your SingPass. Singaporeans are no stranger to SingPass. Since its launch in 2003, citizens and residents have been safely logging in to the SingPass system to utilise a multitude of digital government services, including those that require sensitive information, such as filing taxes and accessing Central Provident Fund (CPF) statements.

Due to the highly personal and sensitive information that goes through the SingPass system, security is of utmost importance. This is why a 2-Step Verification, also known as 2FA, is required for log-in. In addition to using a SingPass ID and password, you will also need a One-Time Password (OTP). You can opt to receive the OTP via SMS or generate one using a specific OneKey token.

In recent years, SingPass has also been updated with a mobile app known as SingPass Mobile. This app allows users to log in to SingPass using precise authentication technology, such as fingerprint, facial recognition or a 6-digit passcode. With these new forms of identification, there is no need to remember passwords. Furthermore, if you happen to be overseas, you can still access SingPass with this mobile app. The enhanced features of SingPass also demonstrate that user data is safeguarded. Since MyInfo requires users to provide personal details, logging in to the platform using SingPass will guarantee security.

The Benefits Of Using MyInfo

MyInfo is designed by the government to revolutionise online transactions. This initiative eliminates repetitive manual form-filling as well as do away with the need for users to provide supporting documents, such as scanned NRIC copy or proof of address, to verify their identities each time they transact with the government or a company.

In terms of security, your personal data is accessible and retrievable by you using your SingPass. Companies that request for your data have to seek your permission and can only ask for information that is required to process your transaction. As a user, you have the ability to control what you share as well as give consent to the data that you intend to share. There is also a record of past data usage that allows you to keep tabs on all your transactions and data sharing.

Many people often associate government agencies with bureaucratic red tapes, the need for endless and unnecessary paperwork, and slow administration. With MyInfo, form-filling not only has been simplified, but there is little chance of making errors as all data is government-verified. This greatly speeds up the administrative process. There is also a lesser need for face-to-face meetings, therefore saving time for all parties.

There are now close to 200 government and private sector services that use MyInfo. Some of the digital government services where MyInfo comes in handy include setting up a medical appointment at the hospital, renewing the work permit for a domestic helper and application to use CPF for education purposes.

For the private sector, MyInfo is most applicable to areas such as telecommunications, utilities, banking and finance. Besides opening new bank accounts, applying for credit cards and purchasing life insurance, you can even use MyInfo to access mobile money remittance services. MyInfo has indeed made many electronic transactions easier and more convenient. It also results in greater efficiency when individuals transact with the government and other commercial services.

MyInfo Business For Corporate Use

Another MyInfo service that will soon be launched is MyInfo Business. Just like how MyInfo lets individuals key in personal data and store it for use, MyInfo Business will allow business owners to share corporate data such as  Unique Entity Number (UEN), business profiles, financial statements and grants details. There is also less form-filling and almost no need to supplement documents for verification. This will streamline B2B transactions, redirect manpower to better use and improve overall efficiency for companies.

A Country Connected By Technology

With digitalisation comes interconnectivity. The National Digital Identity project not only enhances interaction among individuals, businesses and the government sector, but it also brings about greater synergy, increased transparency as well as more convenience to everyone. If this is what being a Smart Nation is about, then Singapore is definitely on the right track.